[ View the story "Is there a future for Haitians in the Dominican Republic?" on Storify] Is there a future for Haitians in the Dominican Republic? Stateless Haitians must prove they belong in the country or face deportation.
The Stream· Thu, Jun 18 2015 17:01:23
The future of more than 500,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent remains uncertain in the Dominican Republic after a deadline to legalise their status
Wednesday night. According to local reports, dozens of buses and trucks have been prepared for immigration patrols. Many fear mass deportation of those unable to register.
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream They're scared because the Dominican state is failing them and could tomorrow expel them.Robin Guittard
these fears "unfounded". In a June 8 statement from the Domincan Republic embassy in the US, officials assured civil rights will be protected:
Prior to the deadline, many shared photos of long lines of those attempting to register:
#PlandeRegularizacion Así luce la oficina del plan en San Cristóbal, RD. Cientos se han dado cita para regularizarse.
Así está el exterior del Ministerio de Interior y Policía; largas filas y desesperación matizan #PlandeRegularizacion
to register the more than half a million undocumented migrants, 90 per cent of whom are Haitian, was part of a law passed last year. The government created the "regularisation plan" following international outcry that resulted when the Dominican constitutional court stripped citizenship of those born to undocumented foreign parents, dating back to 1929.
Under the current law, children of undocumented parents who could prove their births were in the national civil registry would be eligible for residency, and all others could register themselves as foreigners and potentially be on the path to naturalisation. Early local
indicated that more than 260,000 people registered before Wednesday's deadline.
International human rights groups
the law "falls short", pointing to the difficulties of obtaining the needed documents.
“Despite its partial corrections of some of the worst aspects of the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal, the new law supplants citizenship on the basis of place of birth, with citizenship by state fiat. Such a system will create and enshrine statelessness and leave Dominican law in violation of the government’s international human rights obligations.”opensocietyfoundations.org
Others say the policies are directly targeting Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent:
That is a clear target to the ones with Haitian ancestry , aka mainly blacks, in the country....EmilieHFeatherington
@DeemaAlpha @AJStream moreover this law disproportionately affects Haitians vs other foreigners from wealthier nations living in DRStephanie Morillo
Tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti
Dominican independence from its former occupier in 1844. The sugarcane industry brought thousands of Haitian migrant workers to the country in the 20th century. Thousands more streamed across the border following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Dominican authorities
the country has continued to suffer due to Haiti's economic and political troubles. These tensions have affected the way Haitians and those of Haitian descent are treated in the country.
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream a narrative already exists in DR around Haitians causing social ills (crime, for example) and this reinforces thatStephanie Morillo
In the Human Rights Watch video below, Dominicans of Haitian descent describe how they were targeted because of their darker skin and African features:
Dominican Citizens at Risk of Expulsion to HaitiHumanRightsWatch
Many online also pointed to racism as the cause of the government's actions:
Colonialism leading to internalized racism is the cause of this #DominicanRepublic #dominicanrepublichaitiansNana Acheampong
The one thing scarier than racism is internalized racism #DominicanRepublicDavid José Castillo
Others, however, pushed back saying the potential deportations are about responding to illegal immigration, not race:
Is not about racism it's about illegal immigration you guys make it into a race thing cause they happen to be black #DominicanRepublicRD4LIFE
@AJStream Ridiculous. It isnt haitians being deported, its all illegal aliens. Same as almost 200 nations. Wheres the boycott US hashtag?Ivan Fernandez
Others in The Stream community weighed in on whether Dominican-born residents of Haitian origin should be registered as foreigners:
@Nuri_ibrahim NO! They are Dominican Citizens! They should be afforded the same privileges as every native born and naturalized citizen.Brenda Pacouloute
@AJStream no, they shouldn't. They were born in DR & raised in DR; many of them speak Spanish as their first language. They participate...Stephanie Morillo