Despite the Dominican government’s claims that it has not begun deporting illegal immigrants or natives born in the DR to foreign parents, interviews on the ground say otherwise. Human rights groups state that individuals are being left at the border, while others flee the country to escape growing xenophobia and violence. Additionally, IJDH staff attorney Nicole Phillips notes that the Dominican government’s flawed registration process may actually help identify unregistered individuals living in the DR. Tensions are high as August – when the Dominican government plans to start officially deporting people – looms closer and the fate of the island remains uncertain.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
“Haitian Devil, Go to Your Country”
Joshua Keating, Slate
July 22, 2015
FOND PARISIEN, Haiti—André Joseph recalls that his crops were almost ready to harvest the night a group of men armed with guns attacked his home in Neiba, in the southwestern Dominican Republic, driving him and his family out into the fields. Life in Neiba wasn’t always easy for Joseph—he remembers waking up at 5 a.m. for 14-hour days in the fields—but 40 years after arriving in the Dominican Republic, he had built a life and a comfortable home for his wife and 15-year-old son. All that disappeared that night, about one month ago. After camping out at a neighboring farm, he appealed to the police to help him regain his home. Instead, they put him on a bus to Haiti, the country where he was born but hadn’t seen since he was 12 years old. “I lost 40 years of work just because I’m not Dominican,” he says.
I spoke with Joseph on a recent Friday afternoon in a converted schoolhouse in Fond Parisien, 8 miles from the Dominican border, where he is living with about 50 other recent arrivals in Haiti, including dozens of children born on the other side of the border. Conditions at the school are grim. A few of the residents have thin mattresses, but many sleep on the ground. On the day I visited, an infant slept wrapped in a dirty blanket on the schoolroom floor, and a woman hung laundry from cactus growing behind the schoolhouse. Local religious groups provide food, but some days there’s none available.