Experts warned Friday that a Dominican court decision to strip citizenship from children of Haitian migrants could cause a human rights crisis, potentially leaving tens of thousands of people stateless, facing mass deportation and discrimination.
The majority of them don’t have Haitian citizenship, have little or no ties to Haiti and likely don’t speak Creole, he said. Getting Haitian citizenship can be complicated too because it is difficult to comply with requirements to prove descent from a Haitian national.
"To all of a sudden be told no, you’re not Dominican, it’s very frustrating," said Elmo Bida Joseph, a 21-year-old student who said he was denied his ID and a copy of his birth certificate because he was born to Haitian migrants. "All my dreams have been broken," said Bida, a baseball player who needed those documents to enroll in a baseball academy. Now he worries he’ll be deported.
David Abraham, a law professor at the University of Miami, said the decision was part of a larger effort to keep Haitians from entering the Dominican Republic and to encourage self-deportation of those already here. He cited the racial differences between the predominantly black Haitians and mixed-race Dominicans as well as Haiti’s plight as one of the world’s poorest countries. ”The fear of the Dominican Republic, of being pulled down to the level of Haiti economically and the ‘blackening’ of the country, has been an obsession of Dominican politicians for well over a century,” he said.