Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Why is the Dominican Republic Forcing Out Haitians?

Afro-Dominican poet Blas Jiménez once said, “Now we are Dominican, because we are not Haitian. We are something, because we are not that.” That statement perfectly captures the tension and uproar that has followed the Dominican court ruling that retroactively and arbitrarily stripped citizenship from an estimated 200,000-300,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent in the country since 1929 and labeled these people as being “in transit,” despite the fact that few people spend 84 years and 4 generations “in transit” in the same country---imagine the profound social upheaval that would ensue if the United States retroactively revoked citizenship from all Irish-Americans in the U.S. since 1929. The impact on the lives of these people suddenly made stateless are profound- access to public education, voting rights, healthcare, and even birth certificates and ID cards in the DR are all reserved for citizens alone.

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