The Nation is reporting that the Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic has summarily “stripped” Dominicans born to Haitian parents of their citizenship. Some argue that they are not being “stripped” of anything because they were born to Haitians who were not here legally and the Dominican Republic does not award anyone born in the country automatic citizenship, regardless of parentage. Now, it looks like those “stripped” of their citizenship will also be deported to Haiti in a matter of days. Initial reports suggested that the deadline for deportation would be delayed, but according to the Nation‘s Greg Grandin, it looks like the government will be moving forward with the deportation on June 16.
Grandin writes that there has been little to no coverage in the United States media. Nearly 1.5 million people of Dominican Republican descent live in the United States. Equally as silent are human rights groups. The Pope has said that Dominican Bishops cannot ignore the needs of immigrants, but the Haitians being expelled were actually born in the Dominican Republic with family, friends and property and work in the Dominican Republic. Grandin reports that many of them have never been to Haiti or know anyone in Haiti.
“How many are vulnerable? The common reference is over 100,000. Rachel Nolan, who reported on the impending deportation in Harper’s, writes 210,000. I’ve also heard between 300,000 and 500,000. But who knows? And what will be the criteria to decide once the expulsions get underway and achieve self-propulsion? Already in poor neighborhoods they are sweeping up ‘dark-skinned Dominicans with Haitian facial features.’
The Dominican government has set up a number of centers where Dominicans of Haitian descent can try to ‘regularize’ their status, and thus avoid being expelled. It’s a charade. The offices are overcrowded, understaffed, and the needed paperwork doesn’t exist (many Dominicans of Haitian descent were born in rural areas, since their parents came to work the sugar fields, with midwives and not in hospitals, and were therefore never issued birth certificates).
An aid worker based in the poorer barrios of Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata (the two primary hubs of Haitian immigrants in the DR), who doesn’t want to be named, writes that three days ago, on June 9, local Dominican television media reported that the government solicited transportation companies for up to three dozen large passenger buses to be available on a rotating basis, with an implicit understanding that these would be used for pending deportation trips. ‘This he said, ‘is an extremely ominous sign.'”
June 16 is the date of deportation. Police have already been conducting sweeps in the barrios, in preparation for the mass deportations this week.
As of June 17, hundreds of thousands of Haitians and Dominican-Haitians will be rendered stateless and eligible for summary detention and deportation. The Dominican government maintains that they will not delay implementation of the law, despite pressure from the US, the UN, the OAS.
Read more at the Nation.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news blog, the Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.
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