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Dominican Republic Challenging its Haitian Citizens

October 28, 2013
Plain English Version

There are problems facing Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

An expert said, “There is a tragic history of discrimination against Haitians in the Dominican Republic.” The United Nations called it a “profound and entrenched problem of racism and discrimination.”

Haitians came years ago as workers in the sugar industry.

In 2010 the Dominican high court ruled that the Haitians were “undocumented” people “in transit.” It annulled the citizenship of their children born after 1929!

When you are born in a country, you are generally a citizen of that country. That is the rule in the U.S.A. It has been the rule in the Dominican Republic. Now that is changing. The trend to rule against children born to people “in transit” began in the 1990s.

Now, the Dominican-born children of Haitians are facing the same treatment as the undocumented in the United States.

About 200,000 people or more, mostly Haitians, are affected.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola.

When the new law is put into effect, it is possible that the children of undocumented parents may not be able to:

  • attend school
  • work in the formal economic sector
  • receive medical insurance
  • obtain civil marriage licenses
  • register their children’s births
  • open bank accounts
  • purchase homes
  • get inheritances
  • leave the country because they cannot get or renew a passport

In response to the new law, Haiti recalled its ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

New York City is home to about 94,000 Haitian and 380,000 Dominican immigrants. Activists in both communities oppose the Dominican government’s decision.

A U.S. union official said, “We are not just bystanders. We have felt the sting of policies that are anti-immigrant.” Many Dominicans, without proper documents, have been deported from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican government said it would provide a path to legal residency for those affected by the court ruling.

Source: The New York Times                                                                                               October 17, 2013


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