Dominican-Born Haitians Protest Against Deportation Threats

June 19, 2105

Protests erupt in the Dominican Republic over the possible deportation. Photo: Reuters

Protests erupt in the Dominican Republic over the possible deportation. Photo: Reuters

Over 100,000 Dominican-Haitians have been stripped of their Dominican citizenship and are up for deportation.

The Dominican Republic’s decision to deport over 100,000 people of Haitian descent has been met with mass indignation in recent days, as protests ignited in the capital of Santo Domingo on Friday.

Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent chanted “give me my papers,” after the Dominican Republic stripped over 100,000 of them of their citizenship with the aim of deporting them.

“It is an abuse, the threat to deport them, because their family is here, raised here and they are Dominicans, because they were born here. What we want is protection for them,” a protester said.

Solidarity protests have also taken place in New York in the U.S., where a coalition of Dominican-Haiti diaspora and Black Lives Matter groups chanted that the possible deportations are “racist,” and “anti-Haitian.”

Since the 1890s, hundreds of thousands of Haitians migrated to the Dominican Republic due to political violence and persecution. Their children were granted Dominican citizenship, something that was questioned after a 2013 Constitutional Court ruling.

The court ruling denied the Dominicans of Haitian descent birth certificates and identity documents, leaving them stateless.

“With a stateless population in the Dominican Republic estimated at more than 200,000 people, the consequences of expulsion could be devastating,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva.

The United Nations refugee agency has condemned the deportation threats on Friday, Reuters reported.

The Dominican authorities allegedly set up centers where people can “regularize” their status and conduct “screenings” of all individuals subject to deportation.

Yet the reality on the ground is rather different, according to The Nation. Some Dominican-Haitians have reportedly spent as long as eight to nine months to get their paperwork processed, but still have no confirmation on their status. Many people from rural areas lack the birth certificates to even prove they were born in the Dominican Republic.

Poor neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic are also reportedly being ‘cleansed’ by police trucks, an aid worked told The Nation.

“The detained tend to range from intoxicated people to suspected prostitutes, but are disproportionately Haitian or dark-skinned Dominicans with Haitian facial features,” the aid worker reportedly said in anonymity.

Source: teleSUR