Roque Planas, Julia Craven, THE HUFFINGTON POST
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (The Huffington Post) — At 74, Yampié Calleins’ yellowing, muscular hands now tremble when raising something as light as a piece of paper — the result of a life spent swinging a machete and hoisting cane in this country’s sugar fields. After devoting more than four decades of his labor to the Dominican sugar industry, he now draws a modest pension equal to roughly $110 per month. Tomorrow, however, he could lose it.
“I’ve been here since three in the morning,” Calleins told The Huffington Post. “But you’ve got to do what you can to get the papers.”
On Wednesday, Calleins was one of hundreds of people who had queued up since the early morning hours at the central administrative building here — virtually all of them Haitian-born or -descended, virtually all of them black and virtually all of them facing the threat of deportation in the coming days. At midnight, the deadline to file paperwork with a “Regularization Plan” for the Dominican Republic’s estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants expired, leaving an uncertain future for many on the island who have wrestled with Dominican bureaucracy for a chance to stay in the place they know as home.