Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Has international pressure stopped mass deportations from DR?

While the Dominican Republic (DR) has yet to make good on its promise of deporting people who failed to meet near-impossible registration requirements, advocates caution that deportations may still happen. Many fear that the only reason DR hasn’t kept the promise is because of the international outcry against it. Though outright deportations haven’t yet begun, many of Haitian descent are living in fear of violence, harassment and sudden forced deportations from DR.

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

Opinion: Ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic deserves condemnation

Raul A. Reyes, Fox News Latino

July 13, 2015

DR deport rally.jpg

Last week, the Dominican Republic halted its plan to expel tens of thousands of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent from the country. According to U.S. News & World Report, pressure from the international community and a wave of negative press led the Dominican government to “pause” their proposed mass deportations. Human rights groups have warned that this is only a temporary respite from a humanitarian crisis.
They are correct, because the situation in the Dominican Republic is far from settled. Press and public attention must continue to be focused on the scapegoating of Haitians by the Dominican government. It is barbaric, inhumane, and deserves condemnation.
This controversy reflects the intertwined economies and history of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. For decades, Haitians have migrated to the Dominican Republic to work in the agricultural and service sectors, and their Dominican-born children were always considered Dominican citizens. Then in 2010, the Dominican Republic passed a constitutional amendment limiting citizenship to children of legal immigrants, or those with one Dominican parent. A 2013 court ruling made the law retroactive to 1929, which left thousands of people in a legal limbo.
Last year, the Dominican government passed another law designed to restore citizenship to people whose births were in the national registry, and which promised an opportunity for others to naturalize their status. While in theory that sounds like a solution, the reality is far different. This path to citizenship requires documents that many Haitians in the Dominican Republic simply do not have. Many people born in poor rural areas, for example, lack birth certificates and other proof of identity. Bureaucracy, fees, and a lack of assistance from the Haitian government have also put this proposed fix out of reach for those who need it most.
Meanwhile, the Dominican government set a June deadline for people to register and adjust their status, and has been making plans for forced repatriations. Only the resulting international outcry seems to have put the brakes on their plans – for now.

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