Haitians searching for to flee the violence and chaos face hostility within the neighboring Dominican Republic

Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince has been under siege for several months, in response to reports 200 gangs have taken control of greater than 80% of the town.

The rise in violence has left residents with little alternative but to shelter of their homes or seek refuge in other cities or countries.

But finding safety outside Haiti's immediate borders isn't easy. Recent actions by the USA, one in every of the The commonest travel destinations for Haitian migrants have created additional challenges. Restrictions on flights at home and abroadThe Suspension of visa services in Haiti and a Refusing to grant “temporary protected status” to Haitians arriving within the U.S. after November 2022For example, they’ve not only made it tougher for Haitians to emigrate to the United States, but normally even made it illegal.

With such restrictions and with the intention of the Biden administration Haitians intercepted on the solution to the USA are sent back to their homeland, Many are looking as a substitute to emigrate to the one country that has a land border with Haiti: the Dominican Republic.

But when Scientist studying the experiences of Haitians within the Dominican RepublicI do know that their inclusion across the border is commonly controversial.

Anti-Haitian xenophobia

The chaos that has engulfed Haiti in recent months has been greater than seen 360,000 people be internally displaced. It also led to this a wave of xenophobia within the Dominican Republic, where Haitians form a sizeable minority. In one Country with around 11 million inhabitantsthe estimate of what number of Haitian migrants live within the Dominican Republic ranges from 500,000 to 1 million. Recent incidents of xenophobia have included Harassment of Haitian Migrants similar to blackmail and reports of physical and mental violence sexual assault.

Anti-Haitian sentiment has also increased Politicians are calling for stricter border regulations in an election 12 months.

Current Dominican President Luis Abinader leading within the polls ahead of the parliamentary elections on May nineteenth has made it clear that he tries to maneuver on Migration policies that include: Building a border wall and the position of strategic checkpoints for prevention what his government once called “Avalanche of illegal aliens, especially Haitian nationals.”

A not so friendly neighbor

Haitians have long been the goal of the masses Deportations and violence within the Dominican Republic. In 1937, dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the mass killing of Haitians Parsley massacre. In six days, locals armed with machetes killed an estimated 20,000 Haitians – some estimate as many 30,000.

Today as then Skin color was used to discover who could also be of Haitian descent. The Dominican Republic is a rustic that is mostly pleased with his “mixedness” in contrast to Haiti’s “Blackness.” And Dominican immigration officials were recurrently accused of racially profiling black people as foreign, Haitian and illegal.

Anti-Black racism within the Dominican Republic is so notorious that in November 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo issued a travel warning We urge Black Americans to take precautions when traveling to the Dominican Republic as they risk being mistaken for Haitians and being wrongfully imprisoned.

Increase in deportations

The Dominican Republic's efforts to deport Haitians have increased recently. Peak in July 2023 with 24,000 deportations. The monthly total fell to 9,400 in January 2024, only to rise again to 9,400 by April 2024 over 16,500.

The increase in deportations comes despite appeals Human rights groupsthat in March called on Dominican authorities to temporarily stop Deportation of Haitian asylum seekers.

In fact, human rights groups have long been closely monitoring developments within the Dominican Republic.

In 2013 constitutional changes the birthright to citizenship abolished within the country. This meant that anyone born within the Dominican Republic to a non-citizen between 1929 and 2010 was not eligible for Dominican citizenship. Initial estimates suggested that just over 200,000 people was rendered stateless in consequence.

Critics complained Legislation as racistand located that it constituted, amongst other things, a violation Article 15, Sections 1 and a couple ofof Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It states that everybody has a right to a nationality and that this can’t be arbitrarily withdrawn.

Ten years later, 130,000 people remain statelesswithout protection and always at risk of deportation.

Human rights groups have done similar things Concerns expressed in regards to the way Dominican authorities implement immigration policy, with multiple reports of inhumane treatment of Haitians – similar to using excessive force during raids, deadly chases And Parent-child separations.

In April, video footage was circulated online that exposed conditions within the prison notorious jail in the town of Haina, a spot so contaminated with lead that it has been nicknamed “Dominican Chernobyl.” Dozens within the footage Haitians could be seen sprawled on the bottom under crowded conditions.

Indifference to the plight of Haitians

The Dominican public appears to be relatively unconcerned in regards to the plight of Haitian migrants.

A February 2024 survey A survey of nearly 30,000 people by Listín Diario, one in every of the Dominican Republic's oldest and most generally read newspapers, found that 99% of respondents imagine that Haitians' human rights haven’t been violated despite the deportation policy.

Underlying this sentiment is the idea that the Dominican Republic should give you the chance to manage its own immigration laws independent of the influence of other nation states. This is obvious in statements made by politicians similar to former President Leonel Fernández, who’s running for re-election and said in a newspaper interview that international interference in Dominican immigration policy reflected an absence of respect for the country's sovereignty and self-determination.

It was similar when Abinader, the present president, was asked whether the Dominican Republic would take this to heart UN plea for a stop to the deportation of Haitianshe simply stated: “No, we will not… we will continue to apply our laws and our Constitution.”

The measures to suppress Haitian migrants were accompanied by incitement from right-wing groups. One such group that nationalist, conservative organization Old Dominican Orderhas the stated intention of “retaking” the Dominican Republic from the Haitians.

The group took advantage of its growing social media platform – it has 77,000 followers on Facebook, for instance – Organize protests against Haitian immigration and the “imposition of the international community.”

This Dominican nativism is reflected within the rhetoric of the country's president. When asked the BBC in April As to how the Dominican Republic can justify the continued deportation of Haitians given its current crises, Abinader responded: “Just like the United States, the Bahamas and all other countries.”

He added that his government wouldn’t consider the potential of providing even short-term refuge to Haitians.

With Abinader's platform should receive a brand new mandate The prospects of crisis-hit Haitians being welcomed across the border are as slim as ever due to the opinion of Dominican voters within the upcoming elections.

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