Dominican Republic plans to push out undocumented Haitians

Americas Now

Dominican Republic could become deportation station for undocumented Haitians 1

When people think of the Dominican Republic, they often think of white beaches lined with palm trees, resorts and vacations. But there is also a working-class side to this Caribbean nation and much of its workforce is comprised of Haitians.

The island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean is divided into two sovereign countries, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The latter has a history of extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure and development combined with a recent tragic chapter that an earthquake that destroyed the little progress it had achieved. For decades, Haitians have been illegally crossing the border into the more stable Dominican Republic in search of work and basic survival. Today, it is home to half a million Haitians. But it may not be their home for long.

Recently, the government decided to put a stop to the illegal migration. It has implemented a plan to legalize some of the undocumented Haitians and push others back to their home nation. But some critics call the plan unfair and discriminatory.

Correspondent Nitza Soledad Perez went to the Dominican Republic’s capital of Santo Domingo to find out more about the story. She visited the neighborhood called Little Haiti and spoke to undocumented residents facing deportation. One of them is a beauty consultant named Marlene. Single with four children, Nitza shows us a day in Marlene’s life and what she is up against trying to stay in the Dominican Republic.

If Marlene has to return to Haiti, her four children must go with her. The children have a better shot at getting some formal education in the Dominican Republic, but without Marlene there is no one else who can take care of them. Her oldest daughter is too young to take care of the other three. As of July 2, 2015, government figures show that there are 31,275 undocumented Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic could become deportation station for undocumented Haitians

Dominican Republic could become deportation station for undocumented Haitians

When people think of the Dominican Republic, they often think of white beaches lined with palm trees, resorts and vacations. But there is also a working-class side to this Caribbean nation and much of its workforce is comprised of Haitians. The island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean is divided into two sovereign countries the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The latter has a history of extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure and development combined with a recent tragic chapter that an earthquake that destroyed the little progress it had achieved.

  • 3kingsDC aka Roberto

    Some
    within the controversy point that there is “anti-haitianism” in
    Dominican Republic, others that it is racism, but what they do not stop
    to analyze, is that it has nothing to do with race, or that they are
    Haitians, but it has everything to do with being properly documented to
    live in a country.

    No
    matter what country you live, if you are not properly documented you
    run the risk of being deported, whether in USA, Europe, Australia,
    everywhere in the world. Moreover people lose sight of the national
    security problem it can become, if a person or in this case a group of
    people who are not properly documented are inside a state or country, it
    can lend itself for criminal and terrorist acts, as many immigration
    analysts point out when speaking of the Mexican undocumented migration
    to the US problem, or when in some European countries the police forces
    out undocumented immigrants that live under bridges, or out of their
    homes to process them for deportation, as is the case between France and
    Spain.

    How
    do I stay out of the ring, when I hear and read that Dominicans are
    racist, referring to the Dominican-Haitian migration problem. Have they
    not seen or felt our pride for being mestizos and mulattos, that the
    Indian and the black run in our veins and behind our ears?

    Many
    say, on both sides, that it has something to do with our liberation as a
    people, our independence from the French and the Haitians, then I ask
    you, were you there to offend or be offended by an act that you did not
    commit or was committed against you? I do not think so!

    Where
    Indignation gets me is when I see people, community leaders and
    political leaders, taking positions on an issue which they do not
    understand nor have complete knowledge about, then it becomes an
    irresponsible criminal tort on the part of the leader or politician
    against his community.

    “The irresponsibility of fighting for a cause uninformed, is a criminal act when it comes from a community or political leader”

    My
    question is: How can a person or political leader stir a fire which
    he/she has not the slightest idea how, or why it lit? It seems that many
    have not receive the news that Haitian President Martelly declared
    Apatridas Haitians who are not properly documented.

    Yes,
    there is a human factor to the situation, and the human right to aspire
    for a better life for you and your children, as we as immigrants have
    done in the USA, but properly documented, even if we arrived
    undocumented the first goal is “papers” or “Papeles” as we call it,
    especially when the opportunity to regularize your status is given to
    you, as was the case in Dominican Republic.

    Let’s
    better focus on the sovereignty of each country to enforce its own
    immigration laws, and what their individual constitutions says about the
    subject matter of the countries involved in the controversy. Or is it
    that your neighbor can make rules in your home? I didn’t think so!!!

  • Leandro Susana

    US ambassador to Haiti Pamela Ann White on Monday said there’s no evidence of a “humanitarian crisis” in that country and instead sees “things that work well so far” at sites such as Ouanaminthe, one of the Haiti towns where migrants who choose to leave Dominican Republic cross the border.
    The US diplomat also said the reception areas reserved for those who return to their country voluntarily “is organized efficiently.”
    “The humanitarian crisis, which many people talk about, hasn’t taken place,” said the diplomat, quoted by Haiti media AlterPresse. “There’re even things that work pretty well for now,”
    The US envoy said the reception areas used by immigration officials to register migrants returning to Haiti, “is organized efficiently.”
    White spoke during a brief visit to Ouanaminthe, near Dajabón (northwest), together with Canada ambassador Paula Caldwell St-Onge, to assess the situation of Haitian migrants returning from Dominican Republic.
    White’s statement debunk allegation of a “humanitarian crises in Haiti,” with accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “lynchings,” and even of “concentration camps.”

  • Boshowa

    Kaisha Munoz
    I must say that the Dominican Republic is allowed promote its immigration laws because those laws conform to international norms. Most countries grant citizenship through two concepts. The first concept is jus soli also known as birth right citizenship which means granting citizenship unconditionally to any person born in that country, but the concept of jus soli is the exception not the norm. According to the Center for immigration studies only 30 out of 196 countries on earth grant birth right citizenship(http://cis.org/birthright-citizenship). All other countries are ruled by anther concept, the concept of Jus sanguinis the principle in law according to which children’s citizenship is determined by the citizenship of their parents. Jus sanguinis is what governs citizenship in all of Europe, all of Africa, with the sole exception of Botswana, and most of Asia, and Haiti. Now the issue was concerning people who had papers that indicated they were Dominican yet this issue was resolved with the law 169-14 in which any person with Dominican documentation would keep their status as Dominicans. After this process began a process of giving documentation to people that were not in the civil registry with the decree 327-13, In which people did not have to prove that they were born in DR but rather that they were a fabric of Dominican society, this was to resolve the problem of many people who did not have any form of identification whether it be a birth-certificate, passport, or any form of identification, the undocumented immigrant were allowed to prove they were a part of Dominican Society through various forms including pay stubs, rent receipts, school diploma/transcripts, a letter from your congregation, or a letter from your neighbors, not all of these documents were required rather a combination, there are the similar standards one must pass to obtain a drivers permit in New York city. The the article by the Haitian newspaper Haiti Libre (http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-3528-haiti-technology-modernization-of-civil-registry.html) displays the documentation problem faced by Haitians. In the article is a quote by the Haitian president Martelly in which he says “How can the State create programs for its people without having an idea of the quantity of people living in the country?” As a result a program to ID Haitian citizens began a program that had essentially no standards due to the fact that Haitians do not have documents to prove their identity, the ID Haitian citizens were granted were based solely on their word as to what was their Age, Name, and Place of Birth. This affects the Dominican Republic in the sense that Haitian immigrants have no way to prove where they were born. In my opinion the resolution to give anyone with proven ties to Dominican society legal status was a fair choice, and not in line with racist policies but rather laws that conform to international standards of the control of undocumented immigrants. Many people say these laws are racist because they would like to see the Dominican Republic give amnesty to anyone born in the Dominican Republic which would be something that would be unacceptable in any country on earth, specially considering the circumstances, in terms of the problems of personal identification within the community that mostly immigrates to the Dominican Republic. I believe instead of continuously writing about the world event in the history of Domincan-Haitian relations we most focus on the bright spots, because I always wonder why we weren’t called racist when we in 2012 built a university in Haiti (The Universite Roi Henri Christophe), or when we allowed all aid entering Haiti, in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, to enter through Dominican Ports since Haiti’s main port had been completely destroyed. I believe instead of promoting HATE, as you do, we must promote investments to build the Haiti and Dominican Republic of our Dreams,
    Thank You,
    Joseph