Can Haiti-Dominican Talks Prevent Mass Deportations?

Jul 13, 2015

Is the Dominican Republic’s controversial plan to deport hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent on hold? 

Almost half a million people living in the Dominican Republic have Haitian ancestry. But the Dominican Supreme Court has ruled that anyone born in the D.R. after 1929 will have their citizenship revoked if their parents were not Dominican. That has set the stage this summer for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans.

But on Friday, Robert Labrousse – the Haitian minister for Haitians living abroad – visited Miami’s Little Haiti with news about talks between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“This is not over yet, and it looks like things are going to be done the way we wish them to be," Labrousse, who spoke to Haitian-Americans at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, told WLRN. "They’re going to be starting to negotiate. Deporting them is not fair, and the whole world knows it.”

Because of those talks – and increased international pressure from groups like the Organization of American States (OAS) – the deportation plans were reportedly suspended temporarily over the weekend.

But in case the expulsions do begin, Haitian-American leaders in Miami say more needs to be done to help deportees arriving in Haiti.

“We want to know from the Haitian government side, how are we going to bring these people in and how are going to assimilate them into our culture now," said Jeff Lozama, who heads the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida.  "What preparations are we going to make for them?”

Human rights groups say many Haitian-Dominicans have already been deported.