Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Are self-deportations voluntary when people are stateless?

As the fear of mass deportations continues to loom, thousands of people are taking their belongings and their family members from the Dominican Republic (DR) to Haiti. DR calls these voluntary self-deportations but IJDH Director Brian Concannon says that crossing the border out of fear of violence and loss of possessions makes these deportations involuntary. Professor Ediberto Roman and a Jesuit group also explain how the DR authorities are spreading misinformation about their regularization plan and what DR is currently doing to help those who are now stateless.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Newly Stateless Flee Their Homes in the Dominican Republic

Citizenship Deadline Triggers Self-Deportations to Haiti, International Outcry

Helena Ball, PanAm Post

July 1, 2015

Undocumented migrants and natives of the Dominican Republic, fearing legal persecution, are "self-deporting" to Haiti. (<a href=";set=pb.1118343445.-2207520000.1435701103.&amp;type=3&amp;theater" target="_blank">Etant Dupain</a>)

The Dominican Republic’s Department of Migration announced on Tuesday, June 30, that more than 25,000 people had “voluntarily returned to their country of origin” since June 18, the deadline for its new nationalization plan.

On September 2013, the country’s Constitutional Court affirmed the definition of citizenship as established in the 2010 constitution: the redefined term excludes descendants of migrant workers, even if they were born in the country. The ruling, applied retroactively for almost a century, impacted hundreds of thousands Dominicans of Haitian descent.

As a result of public outcry, the government then passed a special law that allows children of migrants with official identification to remain as citizens and those without documents to apply for a path to nationalization. In addition, the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners was created for those without any documentation to apply for legal status. However, an overwhelming number of applications, combined with procedural irregularities, have left many in stateless limbo.

Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti Brian Concannon told thePanAm Post most people should not be considered “self-deported.” He explained that they are voluntarily crossing the border only out of fear of violent expulsion by the police, and of being separated from all their possessions as the plan’s registration deadline expired.

Click HERE for the full text.

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