[Blackstudies-l] Edwidge Danticat on “Fear of Deportation in the Dominican Republic”

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Thu Jun 18 12:56:06 EDT 2015

   ivetteromero posted: " “Fear of Deportation in the Dominican Republic”
by Edwidge Danticat (author of The Farming of Bones, among many others)
appeared on 17 June 2015 in The New Yorker. Many thanks to Rod Fusco for
bringing this one to our attention. Here are excerpts; I h"    Respond to
this post by replying above this line
      New post on *Repeating Islands*
<http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>  Edwidge Danticat on
“Fear of Deportation in the Dominican Republic”
ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>

*[image: Danticat-DR-Explusions-690]

*“Fear of Deportation in the Dominican Republic” by Edwidge Danticat
(author of The Farming of Bones, among many others) appeared on 17 June
2015 in The New Yorker. Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this one to
our attention. Here are excerpts; I highly recommend the full article (see
link below):*

On both the eastern and western sides of the island of Hispaniola, many
have feared this day, when an estimated two hundred and ten
thousand Dominicans of Haitian descent will become stateless. Even though
they were born and raised in the Dominican Republic and often speak no
language other than Spanish, starting today, they can be expelled from
their country and deported to Haiti, along with hundreds of thousands of
Haitian immigrants.

On September 23, 2013, the highest court in the Dominican Republic ruled
that people born after 1929 could only be granted citizenship if they had
at least one Dominican parent. As part of its ruling, the court ordered a
review of the country’s civil registry and birth records to determine how
many people were eligible for expulsion.

The court made its ruling in response to the case of a Dominican-born
woman, Juliana Deguis Pierre, who had been denied identity papers by local
authorities because she had a Haitian name. She challenged the decision all
the way to the Constitutional Court. It is common for Dominican officials
to deny papers to those with Haitian names, but it has never been policy
before. The Dominican constitution grants *jus soli,* or right to the
soil—that is, citizenship—to all those who are born in the country, unless
they are the children of people who are “in transit.” In effect, the
Constitutional Court’s ruling has redefined “in transit” to include all
those who have immigrated within the past eighty-five years.

Deisy Toussaint, a twenty-eight-year-old novelist and essayist, whose
father is Dominican and whose mother is a Haitian immigrant, did not
realize that the ruling could affect her until she was invited to a
literary festival in Cuba. Even though she has a Dominican birth
certificate and *cedula*, or identity card, she was initially denied a
passport because of her Haitian name. It took Toussaint two and a half
years to get her passport, and she only received it after her father, who
was living outside of the country, returned to the Dominican Republic to
vouch for her.

Toussaint has written for many Dominican publications and has even worked
for the government, but she remains fearful that she may not be able to
stay in her country. Because of her writings against the ruling, she has
been accused (as have I) of being part of an international conspiracy to
discredit the Dominican Republic. [. . .]

Dominicans of Haitian descent are not the only *afectados* (people who have
been affected by the ruling), but they constitute the largest number. They
have also been the victims of an increased number of public beatings,
burnings, lynchings, and other acts of violence by vigilantes who have
taken it upon themselves to forcibly remove Haitian immigrants and
Dominicans of Haitian descent from some communities. The ruling legitimizes
not only these actions but also the centuries-old *antihaitianismo*, or
anti-Haitian prejudice, in the Dominican Republic, and may well make life
more difficult even for those Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian
immigrants who, for the time being, are allowed to stay.

The Dominican government responded to outcry over the ruling from
neighboring countries and human-rights organizations by announcing a
“regularization” plan for foreigners. About two hundred and fifty thousand
people have started the process, but only about ten thousand have been able
to meet all its requirements, and only about three hundred have received
residency permits, according to Ramon Fadul
the Dominican Republic’s interior minister. An American acquaintance, who
has been living in the Dominican Republic for the past eleven years (and
who has often chided me for speaking out on this issue), wrote to me a few
weeks ago to say that even she would have no choice but to self-deport.

Self-deportation is not a possibility for a large number of Dominicans of
Haitian descent, who have known no country but the D.R. In an essay called “*A
ver si lo entiendo*” (“Let Me Get This Straight”) Toussaint laid out, in a
tongue and cheek manner, the steps that she would have had to take to live
without citizenship in her own country:

 *First, I have to find an academy to learn Creole. Second, go to Haiti,
but since I have no passport I would need to hire a guide to secretly
smuggle me across the mountains. (Crossing by river might be fatal as I do
not swim.) Third, tell the Haitian authorities that they must give me a
Haitian passport based on my ancestry. Fourth, as I presume that the
process will not be quick, I must find a job in Haiti since I would have
lost mine in Santo Domingo. Fifth, upon my return to the Dominican
Republic, as a foreign legal entry, immediately apply for a residence
permit to live in my own house.*

A few weeks ago, at a Haitian-American community meeting in Miami, Edwin
Paraison, the former minister to Haitians living abroad, warned that the
deportations can quickly dissolve into an urgent humanitarian crisis.
Paraison has seen large-scale deportations before, in the
nineteen-nineties, when hundreds of Haitian immigrants and some Dominicans
of Haitian descent were simply picked up and dumped at the border by
Dominican authorities without being allowed to collect their belongings or
notify their families. Back then the Haitian government was given little or
no notice. Now, however, Daniel Supplice, the Haitian Ambassador to the
Dominican Republic, told me, the two countries have come to some kind of
accord about the coming expulsions.

[. . .] At the Miami event where I spoke to Paraison, the mostly Haitian
audience was just as angry with the Haitian government as they were with
its Dominican counterpart. Haitian leaders, many said, seem much more
comfortable with members of the Dominican business and political élite than
they are with poor Haitians or poor Dominicans of Haitian descent. Both
sides have used the Haitian and Dominican poor as pawns in trade
disagreements and other bilateral disputes.

Given how many Haitian immigrants and Dominicans with Haitian parents
remain, without “regularization” in the Dominican Republic, one can easily
imagine that the expulsions will number in the thousands. This would
establish a sad and dangerous precedent in the region
Haitian immigrants in places like the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos may now
also fear being rounded up and shipped back, en masse, to Haiti. These
deportations violate many international treaties and conventions, including
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are also unjust and
inhumane and should be stopped.

For full article, go to
  *ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>* | June
18, 2015 at 11:52 am | Tags: deportation
<http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=deportation>, Dominican Republic
<http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=dominican-republic>, Dominican-Haitian
relations <http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=dominican-haitian-relations>,
exile <http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=exile>, expulsions
<http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=expulsions>, Haiti
<http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=haiti>, migration
<http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=migration> | Categories: News
<http://repeatingislands.com/?cat=103> | URL: http://wp.me/psnTa-lrt

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