North Miami Mayor and Council demand justice in the Dominican Republic

Photo: Daily Kos

Photo: Daily Kos

The humanitarian crisis in the Dominican Republic rages on.

The White House has no comment.

The Miami Times posted an article, Obama silent on stateless Haitians, which noted, “The silence from Congress, the U.S. State Department and President Barack Obama is troubling on civic and human rights violation by the Dominican Republic against Haitian-descendents living in Dominican Republic, said politicians, human rights activists and lawyers.”

Even Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is concerned and admonished state department representatives that ” stripping aways citizenship from Haitians by the Dominican Republic is not an immigration issue as it is presented but a human rights violation and she wanted to know why Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama himself have not condemned the action.”

The Miami Times reported, “In 2014, the Dominican Republic passed another law, saying it was creating a pathway to citizenship. It would allow those in the Dominican Republic registry to have their citizenship restored and others could get naturalized if they could produce required documentation by June 17. The cost of not meeting the deadline was deportation, some to a country they had never visited. Haitian descendants living in the Dominican Republic may or may not speak French or Creole, since Spanish is the language spoken in Dominican Republic. That deadline has passed and thousands of Haitian descendants did not have the documents, and may be forced to leave.”

As noted a New York Times editorial on July 11, 2015, a 2013 court ruling created “tens of thousands of Dominican-born people of Haitian descent effectively stateless.”  The law was made retroactive to 1929.

In an editorial on July 11, 2015, the Miami Herald noted that the Dominican ambassador claims the new law was to fix their broken immigration system, but “credible reports from journalists and human-rights organizations describe forcible deportations by the military, streams of people fleeing the country out of fear that they, too, will be kicked out without any right to appeal and rough treatment by Dominican authorities at every turn.”

A Latino Fox News editorial dated July 13, 2015 referred to the expulsion as “ethnic cleansing,” calling it “barbaric, inhumane and deserving of condemnation.”

In a Letter to President Obama dated July 14, 2015, 109 law professors from across the country urged the White House to intervene and help stem the looming crisis.

Critics of the Dominican Republic’s hard line are claiming that the motive for the intended mass deportation as nothing but pure racism.  Although the Dominican government denies this to be the case, there have been many documented cases where Haitians have been discriminated against because of their ethnicity.  A Daily Kos contributor wrote, “As a recent Peace Corps volunteer in the DR, stationed near the border of Haiti, I have a very personal perspective on this issue.  This may be hard to believe for most Americans, but racism in the DR is much worse than racism here in the United States. The idea of being black in the DR is wrapped up with being Haitian, and then takes on a xenophobic quality.  The thing is, 90% of Dominicans would be considered ‘black’ by American standards. So there is a huge difference between being considered moreno (brown) and negro (black). The Policia Nacional Dominicana are so underpaid and openly corrupt that being mistaken for being Haitian means having to bribe officers (which I’ve personally witnessed) or be arrested and possibly beaten. Being mistaken for being Haitian means being denied job opportunities, public education, bank accounts, and health care.  In other words, being black in the DR means being a second-class citizen with no legal protections. And now it means being stateless.”

As reported by the Miami Herald’s Lance Dixon, elected officials in North Miami are taking a proactive stance.  Last night the North Miami City Council unanimously passed a Resolution sponsored by Councilman Alix Desulme to urge President Obama and the State Department, as well as all the presidential candidates, to use “political and economic leverage to compel Dominican authorities to reverse course.”

The Mayor and Council held a press conference today, which was covered by Local 10‘s Michael Putney:

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With all the pressure being put on the White House and the State Department, hopefully someone in Washington will finally take notice and take action!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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One Comment

  1. Cortney Hodges says:

    Based upon recent history, the taxpayers of North Miami will soon be paying for their elected officials and police chief to make “investigative” trips to Haiti. Of course they won’t be anywhere near the desperate people, instead using the occasion to meet up with relatives, bringing them polo shirts purchased at Aventura Mall.

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