|BROOKLYN PROTEST AGAINST THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC|
|CONGRESWOMAN CLARK ASSEMBLYPERSON BICHOTTE |
COUNCILMAN JUMMANE WILLIANS
The Dominican Republic is set to begin what some are calling "ethnic purging," placing the fate of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent into limbo. Half a million legally stateless people could be sent to Haiti this week, including those who have never stepped foot in Haiti and don’t speak the language. In 2013, a Dominican constitutional court ruling stripped the citizenship of children born to Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic as far back as 1929, retroactively leaving tens of thousands without citizenship. Today marks the deadline for undocumented workers to register their presence in the Dominican Republic or risk mass deportation. However, only 300 of the 250,000 Dominican Haitians applying for permits have reportedly received them. Many have actively resisted registering as foreigners, saying they are Dominican by birth and deserve full rights. Dominican authorities have apparently organized a fleet of buses and set up processing centers on the border with Haiti, creating widespread fears of mass roundups. The Dominican Republic’s decision to denationalize hundreds of thousands of people has sparked international outcry.
The Dominican Republic’s decision to denationalize hundreds of thousands of people has sparked an international outcry. Haitian President Michel Martelly has denounced it as "civil genocide." The United Nations protested the ruling, and the U.S. State Department voiced measured disapproval. Meanwhile, Dominican-American writers Junot Díaz and Julia Alvarez, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat and American writer Mark Kurlansky have united to express their shared condemnation of the decision. They wrote in The New York Times, quote, "One of the important lessons of the Holocaust is that the first step to genocide is to strip a people of their right to citizenship."