Haitians Flee the Dominican Republic

Undocumented locals become refugees in citizenship fight.

There are more than 200,000 people at risk of being deported from the Dominican Republic, and some say it's because they are Black.

The status of undocumented Haitians in the DR, a longtime battle, most recently –– and perhaps most ironically –– came to a head in the days leading up to World Refugee Day this weekend. A deadline was enforced just last week to insist that immigrants who aren't able to produce their [identity] papers will be deported.

Many have already fled, in fear of being abused, reports NPR.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the new law as racist. “It is clearly an illegal act, it is an immoral act, it is a racist act by the Dominican government,” he said to people gathered at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center in NYC, where some 100,000 Haitians and 400,000 Dominicans reside. “And it’s happening because these people are Black,” he added, according to the New York Times


Elisa Vilorio, a member of the Dominican Advocacy Coalition said that's not accurate. “We opened our doors to Haiti because of the earthquake, but how are we supposed to take in millions of people? We don’t know who was born in Dominican Republic and who wasn’t.”

Whatever the case, the other side of the island, Haiti is preparing to welcome at least some 30,000 deportees. In what capacity, it's unclear. What is clear, however, is the report that the current number of refugees around the world is the highest on record. Some 60 million people have been exiled, displaced, forced out of their home as they know it, due to political conflict. 

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(Photo:  ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)

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