The nonprofit agency Food For The Poor will build 100 homes in Haiti for families that have fled the Dominican Republic out of fear of being deported.
The Haitian government has donated to the nonprofit 76 acres of land in the border village of Fond Bayard where families with children have been arriving from the Dominican Republic.
A constitutional ruling passed by the Dominican Republic took away birthright citizenship to people born to non-citizen parents. The ruling was applied retroactively to 1929 and mostly affects Dominicans of Haitian heritage.
Angel Aloma, executive director of Food For The Poor, said he recently visited Haiti and saw many families who fled the Dominican Republic because they feared they would be deported. He said pregnant women and children were among those living in squalor. Many of these families had lived in the Dominican Republic for decades and no longer had family members or resources in Haiti.
"They have come over without anything with them," he said. "The ones I have seen did not have a suitcase, did not bring a trunk...they came over just really with the clothes on their back."
Aloma called the situation along Haiti's border "a crisis." He said the homes that will be built in Fond Bayard will give the fleeing families a space to call their own and security. An additional 20 homes will also be built for Haitian families already living in the area.
Food For the Poor also plans to build a community center to teach the families beekeeping, aquaculture and other self-sustaining skills.