Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Denationalization Conflated with Immigration Policies in DR

In 2013, the Dominican Republic (DR) Constitutional Court made a decision to retroactively strip citizenship from countless people of Haitian descent. When faced with international backlash to this decision, DR covered for this human rights violation by framing the policy as an immigration issue. DR often asserts that it is taking the same kinds of steps that the United States is taking to regulate immigration, without addressing the retroactive (and thus illegal) nature of the 2013 decision. The US government has yet to take a strong stance on the crisis caused by the decision. This article describes exactly why denationalization and mass deportations are illegal and urges the US to take a look at its own stance on citizenship.

Click HERE for the full text.

Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Promotes Abuses in the US and the Dominican Republic

Ediberto Roman and Jennifer Moore, The HuffPost Blog

August 24, 2015

Over the past few weeks, virtually every American has heard, or heard of, Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Without addressing facts, Trump plays to our most base and racist instincts. Disdainful of evidence that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than citizens , he continues to allege mass numbers of rapists and drug dealers are being “sent” across our border. On August 19, two South Boston brothers attacked a homeless immigrant, claiming they were inspired by Trump .

Hatemongering can incite individual acts of violence and can also inspire policies threatening to immigrants and citizens alike. Trump is not only scapegoating immigrants, he is calling for an end to birthright citizenship. If his plan somehow succeeds, it may jeopardize the human rights of millions, particularly members of minority communities. If this prognosis seems alarmist, we need look no further than the Caribbean region.

Thousands of citizens of the Dominican Republic were recently denationalized and threatened with mass expulsion and the prospect of statelessness. . As a result of a 2013 ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal, described by many as motivated by racial animus, the country did away with birthright citizenship by limiting Dominican nationality to individuals with one Dominican parent, regardless of their own birth on Dominican soil. Despite the language of the Dominican Constitution, this decision stripped the citizenship of generations of Dominican citizens, applying retroactively to 1929 onward.

The vast majority of these newly undocumented former Dominican citizens are dark-skinned people of Haitian descent. In a country where the poor typically have a very difficult time obtaining birth certificates, the decision effectively singles out poor Dominican-born children whose ancestors have resided in the country for several generations.


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