tv America Tonight Al Jazeera June 26, 2015 2:30am-3:01am EDT
on "america tonight" - closing the doors. hundreds of thousands afraid of being deported or arrested in the dominican republic. correspondent david mercer on the front lines as haitians are fleeing the country in fear. also tonight - dying to seek safety. >> will you see the same number of people you saw last year. >> unfortunately the forecast in the paper is 500,000. the ministry of internal affairs is saying 1 million coming from
libya. "america tonight"s sheila macvicar on the migrant crisis in europe good evening, thanks for joining us. i'm adam may sitting in for joie chen. european leaders gathered in brussels, hoping to come up with a solution to the growing refugee crisis that threatened to overwhelm the region. hundreds of thousands of people displaced by fighting in africa and the middle east have fled to europe, with most landing in italy and greece. as "america tonight"s sheila macvicar found out, that crisis divided the european union and is undermining the spirit of unity. >> reporter: as the european union grapples again with the european refuge crisis. the flow of asylum seekers continues nonstop. all week long naval vessels have been plucking
migrants were the sea. on this night the turkish coast guard rescued 70 syrian refugees after the boat capsized. six of those on board died. the u.n. says some 2,000 migrants have already died this year. nearly six times as many as during the same period last year. these images offer a glimpse of what is to come. summer is the high season for crossing the mediterranean as smugglers take advantage of calmer seas. some european intelligence agencies report as many as 1 million migrants gathered in north africa, waiting to make the journey to europe. many on board the ships are fleeing conflict in places like syria, eritrea and somali. italy is a common destinition,
as a result of its proximity to the north african ports. with thousands arriving, italy has been struggling to absorb them all. it wants others to take them in. >> translation: we need to reach a deal confirming the commitment to solidarity on the migrant's relocation. solidarity is not optional. it must be a commitment by the european union. >> so far there has been few signs the rest of europe is inclined to cooperate. two weeks ago france closed part of its border with italy, leaving hundreds stranded in an italian city. >> we are surprised by this situation. for four days, where is the humanity. it's a problem for us. >> austria closed part of its border to migrants, turning some 200 away from the italian city.
in a bid to keep migrants out. hungary is going a step further, announcing an intep to build a 13 foot high fence along the border with serbia, which is in the process of joining the e.u., intending to block a second overland route. 60,000 migrants illegally entered the country this year. all from serbia. the prime minister denounced the fence, comparing it to the berlin wall. >> for its part, italy is accused of ignoring european law, requiring it to register the process, and oblinls those to request asylum there. >> italian authorities turned a blind eye to migrants. like these at the train station. at the same time detaining others, like this group that we met after this had been released. they told us that italian authorities attempted to force
them to give finger prints and showed a document which we confirmed was issued by the italian ministry of the interior, authorising the use of force. migrants resist finger printing because they plan to move on and join family, and through finger prints could strand them in italy. >> the route north through italy leads to milan central strain station, now a major transit point. according to aid workers, tens of thousands passed through the hauls. several volunteers provided assistance at the station. >> reporter: this happened spon tain wowsly. i was at the station one day and sou so many families with small children. it was natural to go to the market, buying crews ants,
cookies and bananas. after creating a facebook group, so many volunteers came, along with donations. for volunteers, it's not about political solutions, but personal gestures. for this child, a balloon. for others, an offer of the food or clothes. i'm surprised there are so many small children and families. it's a dangerous voyage. >> the syrians are coming with a lot of children. last week there was one family with 11 kids. >> we have seen babies one or two months old. some born, while the families were fleeing. >> what do you think will happen. will you see the same numbers of last year. >> unfortunately the forecast was 500,000. now the mirpry of internal affairs was saying one million were coming from syria.
there were syrians, and there were women from mallee eritrea, somali and eritrea. >> the goodwill on display could be a thing of the past. many of the leaders are said they want to take a hard line to the migrants. many are not refugees, but economic migrants looking for better prospect in the e.u. >> to that end they are considering a plan to quarantine migrants by force, if necessary. until a decision can be made on their status. then 40,000 would be allowed into europe in the next two years. it's a drop in the bucket compared to the million or so that could arrive this summer, raising a spectre that hundreds of thousands could be deported at home. >> sheila macvicar with us now. forcibly departing people, sounds easier said than done. especially dir ja.
>> the syrians represent the largest single national group. 67,000 of them. seas. where will you deport them to, return them to. you cannot return them to syria. they have a legitimate claim. and there'll be lawyers that argue that. >> many focus on the european. i talked to syrians that are government. >> there's reason to be frustrated. the american government said they'll take more, but are setting obstacles in the way. by taking more, we are talking a few hundred, not more than that. >> just a couple of hundred. >> they say you have to recommend it by the u.n. refugee agency, you have to be in a camp in jordan or turkey. you cannot be one of these people that came through the sea route to greece or to italy. you have to be able to get to
amman or ankara and go through security clearance. you have to wait months much many don't have the resources to wait that long. it's important to remember. the people that make the journey. from eritrea, from syria are people who have the wherewithal, they can afford to pay smugglers thousands to get them across the sea. these are the people who, in many ways are the most motivated and have the most resources to make the journey. >> so many kids in the middle of this crisis. sheila macvicar next - young lives at risk. remember last year when thousands of immigrants children flooded the u.s. border. the problem is not over, it moved somewhere else. >> later, another growing migrant crisis - more on the front lines in the dominican republic, where some say the country is engaging in ethnic cleansing.
hot on "america tonight"s website - two mothers, both terminally ill with conflicting views on medically assisted suicide. read aljazeera.com/americatonight. >> challenge the way you look at the world. >> talking about big subjects. >> telling human stories. >> rising waters taking their toll... we go to the threatened marshall islands... to talk to the peole affected most >> is there a plan?
>> tech know where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america >> explorer and environmentalist jean-michel cousteau. >> we are visitors and we need to respect that. >> surprising secrets of the ocean. >> if it wasn't for the ocean, we would have a lot of problems today. >> and the harsh reality facing our planet. >> enough is enough. >> i lived that character. >> we will be able to see change. now to four fast ford and america's own migrant -- fast-forward and america's own migrant crisis. our borders saw an influx of unaccompanied children pouring in from central america. this time last year u.s. officials from grappling with what to do with tens of thousands of migrants
searching for new home, lori jane gliha talked to a teenager that made the trek. >> reporter: helping prepare a dinner for six inside this trailer. it seems so simple compared to what this girl endured last spring. just 17 at the time, she was seven months pregnant when she left her family in guatemala to travel to the united states. >> i was most afraid the moment we had to cross the river. you always cross at night, around midnight. i had been told when the current is strong people get swept away, it's dangerous. >> reporter: during a 3-month stay in a texas refugee shelter she gave birth to her son jacob. then she was sent here to george town delaware, home to one of the highest concentrations of guatemalans in the country, a
place where white residents are becoming a minority and the influx of migrants is far from over. she is one of about 70,000 unaccompanied migrants crossing the border last year, many fleeing violence and poverty in guatemala, honduras, and el salvador. she says she was not trying to escape violence. she came to provide a better life for her son. >> translation: we have a better opportunity for the baby, since he was born here. now he receives medicaid and they help me pay for milk. >> fast-forward and the u.s. saw a drop in mying ranked kids at the -- migrant kids at the border. the u.s. got help from mexico, detaining 49% more minors at its border with guatemala, stopping them making the trek to the u.s. their quick methods of deportation are controversial.
>> reporter: up next - correspondent david mercer in the dominican republic. fears grow and tensions rise over an ongoing deportation crisis. and tomorrow on our show a dark history. "america tonight"s christopher putzel travels to south carolina exploring the legacy of slavery today. >> monday. the fastest internet in the country. >> it's the next generation internet. >> but why isn't it in your town? >> our internet's half the speed of dial-up. >> could big cable be controlling your access to the web? >> it's not even gonna play. >> your right to access knowledge is being limited. >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> i'm standing in a tropical wind storm. >> can affect and surprise us. >> wow! some of these are amazing. >> "techknow", where technology meets humanity.
. >> welcome back. accusations of ethnic cleansing in the dominican republic. hundreds of thousands of people - most of them haitians sh are living in fear they are about to be deported. a ruling on the constitutional court on 2013 stripped them of dom can citizenship if they can't prove one of their parents is dom can even if they have spent their lives living in the country. human rights groups like amnesty international expressing alarm that those born in the dominican republic havepm stateless. some are leaving the country fearing they could be arrested or deported. we want to wash you that some of the -- warn you that some of the images you are about to see are graphic. david mercer has the story. >> reporter: this man says he's a proud dominican. inside the shack where he lives, the 22-year-old father is proud of what his family built and
prouder to call the dominican republic his home. but now they could lose everything. like thousands of others, he has been stripped of dominican sit dispenship -- sit zebship because his parents are undocumented. the family of 12 is facing deportation back to haiti. >> translation: when i heard the news i felt terrible. i don't know where i'll go. my father as been here for 50 years. i don't have anyone in haiti, not even friends. others. >> his father oscar worked in the sugar cane fields, bought lacked and depends on his children. he, too, has no papers, and his children are frightened they'll be expelled to a place they don't speak the language. >> i don't go anywhere because
i'm afraid. i'm scared. people here don't go out on to the street during the day or night. i think the same way, because the documents say who you are. i feel dom can, i was born in this country. >> this activist has been going from country to community helping families troy to enroll in the government programs allowing them to stay. they have two options - produce documents to register as foreign workers or for those born, paperwork to prove one of their parents is dominicanment many born at home have no papers and ran into obstacles while navigating a process which is too expensive. in one home, this woman breaks the news to her mother that her children could be deported. she couldn't get the documents from the hospital where her sons were born. now she's desperate.
. >> they still don't have their papers. i am worried they'll be taken and i'll be left behind. whatever happiness, i have to them. >> some 8,000 enrolled in the nationalization programme. those that couldn't are stateless. estimates put the number at 200,000 and beyond. racism has driven the government's push. for generations haitians and their children did the jobs dominicans won't and as their population grew, so, too, has discrimination. >> translation: some dom cannes are afraid, feeling hatians are invading. it's because we are black, nothing else, and because we are poor. many conservative politicians say one poor country can't take on the problems of another poor country.
thousands of workers have been lining up day after day trying to enrol in a regularisation programme. all want to stay, even if they are not welcome. here, at least, there's the chance of a better life than haiti can offer. the immigration measures have been backed by many dominicans. in a nation in which calling someone haitian is an insult, many hold extreme views about their island neighbours. >> reporter: the haitians are living here, not in their own country. you see them wherever you go. before that was not the case. they should go back to their own country. the dominicans and the dominican republic, the haitians and haiti. the apparent mention in february of a hatian man in santiago captured in the amateur photos, wide by circulated in the dominican press were a reminder of the tension. police ruled out racism, but the
death came hours after a haitian flag was burnt publicly. the dominican republic rejects criticisms, saying the latest measure is not a witch-hunt but a response to large numbers of foreign arrives. those born with a right to stay will meet requirements. >> translation: if someone arrives and says they are dominican, how do i know their dominican. how do i know their identity when i don't know their name? tell me, should i register them for telling me this? how. they need to have some kind of document. >> reporter: but political opponents of the deportation plan argues the progress is undermined and the rights of those born here. >> translation: the fact that so many people are running the risk
of being deported is not the only issue. we are talking about 400,000 people failing to register. it's more than that. the country's entire economy has been put in jeopardy. >> reporter: undocumented workers flocked to the booming construction industry, despite wages being as low as $6. they sleep where they work, and club together to buy food. without them, wages and building costs would rise. over half a million myingiant workers -- migrant workers prop up industries like sugar cane farming and tourism. in the late hours before the deadline, more and more police arrive outside the government building in santiago. desperate. when the gates were closed they were told to leave. those that made it inside were promised they'd be seen. tired, cold and hungry, they hope their documents would earn them
the right to stay. on the streets of the capital since the deadline past. fewer haitians have been seen. some spoke of how many had gone into hiding, afraid they'll be among the first to be deported. and they blamed the hatian government, too, for its failures. thousands of hatian workers didn't get the passports they needed to register as foreigners. every day they help those at risk. despite repeated requests from "america tonight". the hatian ambassador to the dominican republic refused to comment. some who failed to register marched in protest. the sugar cane workers demanded their pensions, afraid they'll be deported without them. >> translation:
we received 400, 500, several calls. asking them what to do if officials take them away. many left their homes before dawn, afraid of what might happen. >> reporter: a town on the border with haiti is a major drop-off point for those reported from the dominican republic. it's market day, and thousands rushed back and forth across the bridge and river to buy and to sell. in the chaos we meet one man that said he and 40 others were brought to the border six days before the deadline and left there. he was arrested, despite registering as a foreign worker. his family is in the dominican republic. >> i talked to immigration. they said they can't do anything, there's nothing they can do. they have to. i've been deported. >> over the border in haiti, the government says plans are in place to receive tens of
thousands of deportees. some arrived voluntarily. many live in move early and have little objection to basing services. deportees join 80,000 still displaced after the earthquake in 2010. a 15-minute drive from the border. this is one who fled out of fear. five years ago she left haiti for a better hive in the dominican republic, but as the face illegal abuse got worse, forwards for safety drove her back across the border a day before the headline. behind. >> i feel bad. i can't do anything to help my daughter get better. since coming, my daughter's health got wrsorse, and we have no money and can't do anything. >> mill ka has no idea when
she'll see her husband or father again. her family is in limbo, along with hundreds of thousands of others, with no real place to call home. we cap take this away from all of our reports on this issue, there's so many children across the world in need of a better future. that's it for us here at "america tonight". tells what you thing at aljazeera.com/americatonight you can talk to us on twitter or our facebook page. and be sure to come back, we'll have more of "america tonight" here tomorrow.
e.u. leaders agree to relocate thousands of migrants that have arrived in italy and greets. italy says it doesn't solve the problem. ♪ ♪ this is the world news from al jazerra. also coming up. ramping up the pressure, euro zone leaders say greece has until the weekend to agree a debt deal or face leaving the euro. senior police in south africa are set to face a criminal investigation after an inquiry in the mine killings. and fleeing