During the first five months of 2013, the US has deported 511 Dominican nationals on drug charges, a significant increase from the same time period last year and evidence of the Obama administration's aggressive immigration policy.
El Nacional reported that the 2013 figure is a 53 percent increase on the number of Dominicans who were deported on drug charges during the same time period in 2012.
That year saw a total of 3,240 Dominicans deported on drug charges between January and December, of over 5,000 deportees in all.
So far in 2013, a total of 826 people have been deported from the US back to the Dominican Republic. Asides from drug charges, the second-most common reason for deportation was minor crimes, including traffic law violations and other issues related to immigration status.
Other deportees were charged with fraud and falsification of documents (48 people), assault and robbery (39 people), sexual violence (21 people), and kidnapping (11 people).
InSight Crime Analysis
It is possible that the number of Dominican nationals who faced drug charges in the US and were then deported is partly a reflection of the Dominican Republic's increased importance in the international drug trade. The country seized a record amount of cocaine in 2012, indication of how international drug trafficking organizations continue to use the Dominican Republic as a key transit nation when moving drug shipments northwards.
Some drug trafficking networks may be reliant on Dominican contacts in the US to act as local dealers and distributors. Yet it is also unlikely that many of those deported from the US were charged with serious drug trafficking crimes, or were key figures in the drug trade.
The number of Dominican nationals deported from the US so far this year is partly a reflection of the Obama administration's immigration policy, which saw a record 1.5 million people deported during his first term.