Deported From Their Own Country | TakePart

A woman stands at a camp in Haiti where families have settled after being deported from the Dominican Republic, on Oct. 14, 2015. (Photo: Hector Retamal)TAKEPART LONGFORMDeported From Their Own CountryThe Dominican Republic built its economy on the backs of Haitian immigrants and their descendants. Now it wants them gone.MAR 11, 2016Jacob Kushner reports on foreign investment and human rights in Africa. His work has appeared in, Newsweek, Vice, Foreign Policy, and FOND BAYARD, Haiti—On April 28, 2009, Julia Antoine gave birth to a girl in a hospital in the town of Los Mina, in the Dominican Republic. Her husband, Fritz Charles, couldn’t be there—he was busy working his job at a chicken farm.In the coming days, the couple named the girl Kimberly. When the family went home, Antoine was given a document from the hospital noting the birth, the date, and the word hembra, or “female.” They didn’t bother trying to get Kimberly an official birth certificate. Although Antoine and Charles had spent many years living and working in the Dominican Republic, they were Haitian citizens, and it was well known that Dominican officials routinely denied birth certificates to children born to Haitian parents if, like Antoine and Charles, the parents couldn’t furnish passports or other legal documents.Still, Kimberly was, by law, entitled to Dominican citizenship. Yet in 2015, she was deported along with her mother.RELATEDHow Dominicans of Haitian Descent Are Paying for Their Ancestry“They found us on the street,” says Antoine, referring to the Dominican police. The two were on their way home from the house of a Dominican family where Antoine worked as a cleaner. People of Haitian heritage tend to have darker skin and can usually be distinguished by their accent. “They didn’t give us time to go home to find our things.” Nor did they allow Antoine to drop Kimberly off with her husband or even a family member or a friend, despite that the girl was legally Dominican. “Because my daughter was born there, she should have the right to live there,” Antoine told me one day in January.Kimberly and her mother now live in a lean-to hut made of sticks in a refugee camp on borrowed land in Haiti. Their predicament offers a glimpse into what happens when a nation that bestowed citizenship on people born within its territory decides to take that citizenship away. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, contenders for the Republican nomination for president, have proposed amending the Constitution to eliminate the 14th Amendment’s provision granting citizenship to anyone “born or naturalized in the United States,” but even they haven’t advocated for taking away people’s citizenship, as the Dominican Republic did with Kimberly.Last year, the citizenship of an estimated 200,000 people of Haitian heritage became international news at the expiration of the Dominican Republic’s naturalization law, titled Law 169-14 and passed in 2014, that required the vast majority of them to register as foreigners in the country of their birth. (Only several thousand were able to retain their Dominican nationality.) When the registration deadline passed in June, thousands of Haitians who had been legal residents of the Dominican Republic—and their children who, like Kimberly, were Dominican citizens—fled across the border, many leaving possessions behind. Thousands more were rounded up by police and forcibly deported, many—including Kimberly, whose father remained behind to work—separated from family members.Julia Antoine opens the makeshift door of her home in the Fond Bayard refugee camp. A Haitian who immigrated to the Dominican Republic, she was deported with her daughter even though her daughter was legally entitled to Dominican citizenship. (Photo: Jacob Kushner)The Dominican Republic won its independence from Haiti in 1844, after 22 years of occupation. Over the 20th century, tens of thousands of Haitians moved to the Dominican Republic to cut sugarcane, construct roads and buildings, and farm. Some were brought over by the Dominican government. Many were approved by border authorities to cross the border en route to a particular plantation that had recruited them. Others came illegally. Some would return to Haiti, but others never left, raising families and building lives in their new home.Despite the immigrants’ enormous contributions to the economy, Dominicans have long harbored resentment against people of Haitian heritage, often stigmatizing them as prone to criminality or low morals. Some of that prejudice has racial undertones: While Dominicans come in many shades, most Haitians have dark skin. At times, Dominicans’ attempts to differentiate themselves as more “European” or “Spanish” have boiled over into violence: In 1937, the government orchestrated the slaughter of (historians estimate) between 9,000 and 30,000 Haitian immigrants and their Dominican children in what would become known as the Parsley Massacre.We’ve been

Source: Deported From Their Own Country | TakePart

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