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Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson on the Third Anniversary of the Dominican
Constitutional Court’s Decision to strip Citizenship from Dominicans of Foreign Descent
Today marks the third anniversary of the Dominican Constitutional Court’s decision to strip the hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of foreign descent of their citizenship, the majority of whom are of Haitian descent. They are also being denied the legal rights and protections to which they were previously entitled. The court’s decision has created a devastating human rights crisis and an unprecedented level of statelessness. It is particularly devastating for children who can no longer attend school or seek medical care.
According to a report from the International Organization for Migration, more than 100,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent have been forced to return to Haiti. In addition to not speaking the language or having any familial connections to Haiti, they are living in deplorable conditions. Those who have not yet been deported or forced to flee from the Dominican Republic live each day in fear that their time will soon come.
As the proud congressional representative of one of the largest Haitian populations in the United States, I am committed to doing whatever I can to help mitigate the court’s ruling, which is causing significant harm and simultaneously affects generations of Dominicans of Haitian descent. That includes calling on my congressional colleagues to join me in a letter urging President Obama to address this growing crisis and working with advocates.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a third-term Congresswoman from Florida representing parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties. A former state legislator and school principal, she is the founder of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence Project, a mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school. Congresswoman Wilson also founded the Florida Ports Caucus, a bipartisan taskforce that coordinates federal action in support of Florida’s harbors and waterways. The Florida lawmaker sits on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and is the Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.