In 2013, a Dominican Republic (DR) Constitutional Court issued a ruling that stripped citizenship from people who were formerly considered Dominican, all the way back to 1929. The majority of people affected by this ruling are Dominicans of Haitian descent. On July 9, 2015 the Boston Haitian community held a protest to denounce this ruling and threatened deportations by DR’s government but were greeted by a group of Dominicans at the DR Consulate. This article covers the protest and ensuing standoff, including IJDH legal intern Wesley Lainé’s observations at the DR-Haiti border.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text and video.
WATCH: Bostonians React to Hispaniola Migration Crisis
Adam Reilly, WGBH News
July 9, 2015
There was an intense standoff in downtown Boston yesterday between members of the city’s sizable Haitian American and Dominican American communities. Both groups gathered outside the Park Plaza Hotel, near the entrance to the Dominican Consulate, waving flags and hoisting signs as a watchful contingent of Boston police looked on.
The protesters’ grievances go far beyond Boston. Recently, the Dominican Republic stripped citizenship from some 200,000 residents of Haitian descent—and it’s threatening to deport those who don’t register as foreigners.
In fact, some international observers say deportations have already begun, and that people who should be allowed to remain in the Dominican Republic are being forced out.
Wesley Laine is a legal fellow at Dorchester’s Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. He just returned from a fact-finding trip to the Dominican-Haitian border—and says that while the people he spoke with hadn’t been formally deported, they were fleeing under duress.
“The clients I interviewed really spoke to me about persecution, having to leave their homes, seeing their homes being burned down,” Laine said. “Being harassed by soldiers, being harassed by policemen, even being harassed by their neighbors.
Click HERE for the full text and video.