Dominican Republic expelled 1800 children to Haiti without their parents after they failed to make the required monthly payments.
Under Haiti’s strict laws, if Haitian parents do not raise their children after arrival, they are free to send them to another country if they fail to comply with the country’s compulsory education law.
While the United States has agreed to accept all of the children from the Dominican Republic this summer, there has been much controversy over the practice.
“This is something that should never have happened,” said Sarah Kocurek, a professor of international law at the University of Denver, told the BBC in a recent interview. “Not only does it violate the child’s rights, but as any other government would, the Dominican Republic was the one that expelled the children… The Dominican Republic is just trying to make a point, in a way we Americans understand.”
The Dominican Republic did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.
Under Dominican law, expelled children have been given $800 (or $8,000 depending on the age) plus an “equivalent value of education,” according to Kocurek. In addition, they have received support from the Dominican government, which has sent them back to Haiti or the United States.
Haitian officials say the government was not allowed to make the “forced exile” decision.