DAJABON, Dominican Republic – The top immigration official in the northwestern Dominican province of Dajabon was unharmed in an attack by a machete-wielding migrant smuggler, the press reported Wednesday.
Ricardo Peña told reporters that the attacker, whom he identified as Julian Alcantara, fled into neighboring Haiti.
Alcantara is involved in a network that also had as its members former border immigration inspectors and which dedicated itself to smuggling Haitians into Dominican territory with false visas, Peña said.
The immigration chief said that authorities confiscated from the arrested members of the group cash they had received from undocumented Haitians whom they managed to smuggle into the country.
Peña emphasized that his attacker felt himself to be adversely affected by the measures taken on the border to control the traffic of undocumented people and that, taking advantage of a moment of inattention, he attacked him with a machete.
He said that his life was saved by the intervention of other people.
Peña told Haitian authorities of the presence of Alcantara in their country, and he said they promised to take action to arrest him and return him to the Dominican Republic to answer for his acts.
Dominican officials estimate that around 1 million Haitians live in the country, most of them illegal immigrants who work in agriculture and construction.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion. Though both countries are poor, Haiti is destitute, and Haitians cross the border to do work that many Dominicans will not do, such as harvesting sugar cane. EFE