Can you tell if I’m Haitian or Dominican?

(Newark, NJ) – Thousands of Haitian face being deported today in the Dominican Republic, the latest of the many problems between the two countries. All undocumented workers in the island had till Wednesday to present all the necessary documents and register their presences in the country. There is an estimate of over 500k immigrants in the country, which over 90% is Haitian. At Wednesday deadline only 240k had started the registration.

Haitian have always lived uneasily with their neighbor due to their past history ; massacre ordered by their dictator Rafael Trujillo. It recently reached a high point  when the government decided to strip away the citizenship of children of Haitian descent. A large amount of the people affect by this decision have never lived in Haiti and don’t speak the language. This ruling was later revisited and gave those born in the country a chance to register.

As a result of these deportation the country economy will be affect drastically. Haitian worker do a large amount of the job that the Dominicans aren’t willing to do. If a large amount of the workforce is taken away from the country, production will increase and those below the market prices offered by Haitians wont be there.

We do not expect the United States to get involved with this issue due to their approach with undocumented aliens. They would like to keep deporting and if they interfere with this issue it would contradict where they stand.

Families will be broken, profiling due to the color of your skin will happen, and Dominicans that look like Haitians will be deported as well. This situation brings fear and anguish to the Haitian population that has lived in the Dominican Republic for years. They will not feel safe when they see the military or officer pass by. Feels like a community being oppressed because of the color of their skin.

We wonder if these massive deportation will follow the International laws. What will the process be for mistaken people to come back to their country and is Haiti ready for such a large increase in their population. There are many questions unanswered in this new issue between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

-Jorge Ruiz-