Dominican Republic May Soon Deport Hundreds of Thousands of Haitians, and No One's Noticed

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A terrifying act of "ethnic cleansing" may begin Wednesday just under 1,000 miles from the United States — and all while no one is really paying attention.

Somewhere between 50,000 and 250,000 black Dominicans of Haitian descent will likely have their legal residency revoked, after which they will be unceremoniously and forcefully shown the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In a few days, one of the biggest mass displacements of civilians in recent history could begin in violation of international law.

Last year, the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court wiped out the citizenship rights of any Dominicans born to Haitian undocumented immigrants since 1929, regardless of whether they held a Dominican birth certificate. In doing so, the court essentially made them stateless persons.

As a slow but steadily approaching deadline for all those people to apply for legal residency expires Wednesday evening, the gears of a government plan to aggressively deport those descendants of Haitian immigrants out of their country have begun grinding.

The background: Dominican officials have stated there will be no mass deportations but have quietly prepared 12 buses and "opened processing centers along the border with Haiti to expedite repatriations," according to the Associated Press. Local reports suggest the government has already began rounding up dark-skinned citizens who appear Haitian.

Aid workers have told the Nation's Greg Grandin despite assurances anyone who's already registered for the legalization process will not be deported, they have met "dozens" of people who began applying up to nine months ago and still hadn't even received confirmation their paperwork was received.

Interior Minister Ramón Fadul recently acknowledged out of 250,000 applications, just 10,000 met requirements and only 300 residency permits have been handed out, reports the Guardian. The Guardian also reported "2,000 police and military officers and 150 inspectors had received special training for deportations."

Evidence the government was soliciting bus contracts could therefore be considered "an extremely ominous sign," an aid worker told Grandin.

Yet there has been virtually no mainstream coverage of the brimming crisis in the Dominican Republic. It's not at though this is an unpredictable development; Dominican and Haitian nationalists have bred enmity between the two countries since the mid-19th century. Since 1937, when Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered a massacre of tens of thousands of black Haitians, the Dominican state has viewed dark-skinned residents as second-class citizens.

"Historically, Dominican politicians have deliberately created or exacerbated anti-Haitian sentiment among Dominicans as a means of 'othering' to further their political agendas," an aid worker named Arian told Ryot. "It is interesting to note that the looming implementation of this law tomorrow coincides with the launch of presidential, parliamentary, and municipal campaigns in advance of the 2016 elections."

International pressure could have helped to head off this campaign. But yet again, it looks like people are only paying attention now that terrible events of possible "ethnic cleansing" have been set in motion. It's yet more evidence that institutionalized racism isn't viewed as an urgent problem by the international community, despite its potential to do massive harm.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's website hacked with pro-ISIS propaganda

The same attack also hit government websites in Brookhaven, New York, and Howard County, Maryland, according to reports.

Movement for Black Lives activists disrupt Minneapolis Pride to protest Philando Castile verdict

Protesters reportedly held signs with messages like "No KKKops at Pride."

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's website hacked with pro-ISIS propaganda

The same attack also hit government websites in Brookhaven, New York, and Howard County, Maryland, according to reports.

Movement for Black Lives activists disrupt Minneapolis Pride to protest Philando Castile verdict

Protesters reportedly held signs with messages like "No KKKops at Pride."