Interview: Lives on Hold for the Dominican Republic’s Haitian Minority | Human Rights Watch

Two kinds of stories stood out. First were the stories of the people who were completely outraged because of the bias experienced in the deportation process, the complete lack of due process – people who had been loaded onto a truck and carried off to a deportation holding center without being asked for documents. Sometimes family rushed to help them before they were forced over the border, but in other cases, and other times people were forced across the border.

I remember talking to Cecilia and Andres, for example, who were on a truckload of people coming back from a funeral when police officers  grabbed the whole truck and took them to one of the border deportation towns. Just like that. They only made it back because a local government official intervened. The truck was his and he didn’t want to lose it.

But for me, a lot of the very dramatic stories also came from people who were born and raised in the Dominican Republic but unable to have their status recognized—leaving them with nothing but a shadow life of second-class citizenship.

I remember one young woman. She was only 17 but had been kicked out of school two years ago when this whole issue came up because of the court decision. She could earn enough to eat, but without going to school, she simply couldn’t move forward. Her life is on hold indefinitely.

And just like her a whole generation of children and young adults are caught in this mire through no fault of their own. It is something these people will carry the rest of their lives. There is no guarantee they will ever get papers—even Haitian papers, though they couldn’t get those because they aren’t Haitian and it wouldn’t help them anyway. They are Dominican, they “look” Dominican and talk Dominican but the government tells them they are not. via | Human Rights Watch


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