The life of a commercial diver is somewhat less stable than that of a traveling salesman or mercenary soldier. He does not make his own schedule and has little control over his own fate, which is one reason why divers between jobs have a reputation for, as Newsum puts it, “living hard.” The diver never knows when his next job will come, but as soon as he gets called for an assignment, he must head directly to the nearest port or helicopter pad. A successful diver will work offshore about 160 days a year, cumulatively. A job might last a day, or two months. Work is most consistent, at least in the Gulf of Mexico, in the warmer months, from late March through November, but hurricane season falls within that period. Hurricanes are a mixed blessing—they disrupt ongoing jobs, but they create new ones.
In 2013, the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal, the country’s highest court of appeals on constitutional matters, summarily removed citizenship of tens of thousands of Dominicans, based on a retroactive reinterpretation of the country’s nationality law. This decision violated international human rights law and made thousands of people vulnerable to expulsion. Those affected have been unable to perform basic civil functions such as register children at birth, enroll in school and university, participate in the formal economy, or travel in the country without risk of deportation.