The humanitarian crisis in the Dominican Republic is a world crisis that requires a global response — not a Haitian solution.
It is evident that the Dominican Republic no longer requires the labor force that it invited to propel the development of its economy. According to the World Bank, between 1991 and 2013 the Dominican Republic had one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean. Now, the government of the Dominican Republic must find a more appropriate way to dispense with this unneeded workforce.
Different solutions are necessary to address this complex problem. This expendable workforce is composed of people of various immigration statuses:
▪ Multi-generational Dominicans of Haitian ancestry whom the government elected to render stateless;
▪ Haitians who have entered the Dominican Republic without documentation; and
▪ The offspring of the undocumented who were born in the Dominican Republic who, for all purposes under international law, are Dominicans.
True, this is a very complicated problem that requires complex strategic solutions not mired in the prejudicial dispositions of the past. Haiti is in the midst of rebuilding after the most devastating earthquake in the Western Hemisphere. Laying the troubles of the Dominican Republic at the feet of Haiti is unconscionable.
This is added trauma for families and children currently living in desperate situations in the bateys. The global community, especially the United States, must stand against this humanitarian tragedy. This will bring a similar refugee problem on the shores of America as is occurring on the shores of Italy.
The removal of undocumented Haitians from the Dominican Republic is deportation. It must be coordinated with the Haitian government recognizing the need for time to develop an actionable repatriation plan. The intentional cleansing of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry from the interior of the Dominican Republic is not deportation. Regrettably, the Dominican government has forced these Dominicans into exile, aggravating the current immigration problems in the Americas. This is a foundation for genocide.
This dismissal of international law requires a global solution. The international community’s silence is deafening. Its response is required immediately to avoid imminent disaster.
As of today, the Dominican Republic has scheduled an estimated 500,000 poor people for expulsion to Haiti. The international community cannot, and must not, allow this disaster to persist.
Marie St. Fleur, former state representative, Massachusetts
Guerda Nicolas, associate professor, University of Miami
Carole Berotte Joseph, professor,