Dominican Racism: Nation To Eject Thousands of Lifelong Residents

Categories: Haiti

Phares Duverne
In Santo Domingo, 20 young people gather in the courtyard of Centro Bonó, a Catholic NGO defending the rights of immigrants in the Dominican Republic. Most are Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian origin. The meeting is led by 27 year old Ana Maria Belique .

Most of these young people live in makeshift camps for sugar cane cutters. Today, the debate focuses on the decision by the Constitutional Court to take away Dominican nationality from Dominicans of Haitian descent if their parents are deemed illegal.

These participants are members of a movement called Reconocidó. Their slogan is: "We are Dominicans and we have rights."

They are now considered foreigners in their own country. They were born in the Dominican Republic and have Dominican birth certificates.

"We are Dominicans and we strongly reject the government's approach," says Belique in Spanish, inviting young people to "relentlessly claim their rights to
Dominican nationality." Belique was born in the Dominican Republic. She has visited Haiti only three times. She knows nothing about Haitian culture and history. She is a sociology student at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.

She began to vote when she was 18 years old. Her documents were proof of her Dominican nationality prior to the decision by the Dominican Constitutional Court on September 23.."I cannot imagine my life in Haiti," she says. "I do not even know any family members living on the other side of the border,"

Her brother, Delma Cesar faces the same dilemma. Like his sister, he is also concerned about his future. Cesar is a rapper and through his music, he denounces inequality, intolerance, racism and exclusion. "Let us renounce discrimination and practice tolerance," are some of his lyrics.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

"She has nine children. They were all born in the Dominican Republic ... Amelia receives a monthly pension of 5,000 pesos from the Dominican government"

Sounds exactly like the USA. Have babies, get paid by the government. Produce nothing of value and have the productive feed, clothe, and house you while you reproduce like cockroaches. Whine that you don't get enough.

drakemallard topcommenter

According to the decision, Dominicans born after 1929 to parents who are not of Dominican ancestry are to have their citizenship revoked. The ruling affects an estimated 250,000 Dominican people of Haitian descent, including many who have had no personal connection with Haiti for several generations.These Dominican citizens are suddenly stateless and without rights simply because of their Haitian ancestry. Dominican animosity and racial hatred of Haitians dates back to at least 1822, when the Haitian army invaded the Dominican Republic, liberated the slaves and encouraged free blacks from the United States to settle there to make Dominicans "blacker." February 27, Dominican Independence Day, does not celebrate independence from Spain but independence from Haiti in 1844. On that day a nation that banned slavery and welcomed a diverse population was founded, but the people have been arguing about that diversity ever since.”


Response to the Media Campaign:

 “Unlike the United States, the Dominican Republic does not grant citizenship to all those born within its jurisdiction. In fact, the United States is one of the few nations that maintains this practice. In most countries, it is the norm that citizenship be obtained by origin or conferred under certain conditions. Since 1929, the Constitution of the Dominican Republic has established that the children of people in transit, a temporary legal status, are not eligible for Dominican citizenship.

The article you published does not mention that this principle was confirmed in 2005 by our Supreme Court and subsequently ratified in a constitutional reform in 2010. The Constitutional Court confirms previous interpretations of other courts and pursues its implementation with the relevant authorities, in order to establish a coherent immigration policy.

Like other nations with a significant immigrant population, the Dominican Republic has a legitimate interest in regulating immigration and having clear rules for acquisition of citizenship. This does not only ensure the internal stability of the country, but it also ensures adequate protection of its immigrants. The Dominican Republic should not be pressured by outside actors and other countries to implement measures contrary to its own Constitution and that would be unacceptable to most other nations facing similar immigration pressures.

The Dominican government recognises its obligations to the international community and the plight of the children of illegal Haitian migrants born in the country who lack identity documents.

This does not, however, render them stateless. As your article says, Haiti’s Constitution bestows citizenship on any person born of Haitian parents anywhere in the world. This means that a person born to foreign parents in Haiti, is not eligible for Haitian citizenship.

Also, the Haitian State has the obligation to document their nationals, regardless of their place of birth. Our country cannot bear the responsibility for the consequences due to the difficulty Haiti has in documenting its citizens. Even so, the Dominican Republic has carried out efforts to support Haitian authorities in the regulation of civil registration, including free access to Dominican institutions to facilitate their labour.

Your article argues that there has been discrimination against Haitian immigrants as far as granting nationality is concerned. If in fact there are inconsistent actions, they are the result of the struggle that the Dominican Republic has faced for decades to successfully implement its immigration policy, the same that has affected your very own immigration policies.

It should be noted, moreover, that those born to at least one parent who is a legal Dominican resident is in fact a Dominican citizen.

Therefore, the number of people who do not qualify for Dominican nationality has been grossly exaggerated. A key component of the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling was a mandate to provide people affected with temporary residence permits until a regularisation plan is in place.

These allow them to remain and work in the country and will provide ways to obtain nationality or residence, according to individual factors.

Each case will be carefully examined and subject to judicial due process. Speculation about mass deportations that I have heard is therefore baseless.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti may have a fractious history. Recent events, including the solidarity shown by Dominican society after the earthquake of 2010, have shown, however, that for the most part the countries are looking to the future, engaged in the hard task of finding joint solutions to common challenges.”

Ambassador of the Dominican Republic

whateveryousay topcommenter

Where's Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?


I am from the Dominican Republic, there are no harder working people than the Haitians. They only want to do what we want to do, provide a better life for their children. Shame on the Dominican Courts and shame on you. It sounds like the Dominican Supreme Court is made up of the same fabric as the USA's, horrible.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault