We Regret to Inform You That in 4 Days You and Your Family Will Be Deported to Haiti

In this Nov. 12, 2013 photo, Calmelo Novas, 84, one of many people of Haitian descent fearing the effects of a recent Dominican court ruling on citizenship, sits in the doorway of his home in Jimani, Dominican Republic, near the border with Haiti. A Dominican Constitutional Court ruling that being born in the country does not automatically grant citizenship is a reflection of deep hostility in the Dominican Republic to the vast number of Haitians who have come to live in their country, many brought over to work in the sugar industry. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Protesters burn a Dominican flag in front of the country's consulate during an anti-Dominican Republic protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Protesters outraged over a Feb. 11 lynching of a young man of Haitian descent in the Dominican city of Santiago are demanding the neighboring country respect the human rights of Haitians. (Dieu Nalio Chery/AP)
Protesters burn a Dominican flag in front of the country’s consulate during an anti-Dominican Republic protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Protesters outraged over a Feb. 11 lynching of a young man of Haitian descent in the Dominican city of Santiago are demanding the neighboring country respect the human rights of Haitians. (Dieu Nalio Chery/AP)

Greg Grandin, THE NATION

 

 

(The Nation) — Last week, I wrote that the Dominican Republic has summarily stripped over a hundred thousand Dominicans born in the DR of Haitian parents of their citizenship and is threatening to deport them to Haiti. And though initial reports suggested that the deadline for deportation might be delayed, it now seems to be going forward as planned: In four days, hundreds of thousands of people in the Western Hemisphere will become stateless.

Where is the US press? Why aren’t they covering it? And why the silence from human-rights groups? The main page of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch has three posts on Venezuela. Nothing on the Dominican Republic. HRW’s director Ken Roth is a prolific voice on Twitter—yet nothing on the topic since November 11, 2014 (but do a Twitter search for @KenRoth and Venezuela and bathe in the stream).

The pope has spoken out, sort of. He told Dominican bishops that they “cannot be indifferent to the plight of Haitian immigrants.” Yet the impending expulsion will not be of immigrants but Dominicans of Haitian descent, born in the Dominican Republic, with family and friends and property and work in the Dominican Republic; many of them have never been to Haiti or know anyone in Haiti (though the Dominican press insists on calling them “Haitians”).

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.”

 

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