Identity Shifts

Given the porous nature of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Archibold 2011) and the lack of race based census data, it is impossible to judge accurately the demographics of the Dominican Republic. An estimated 700,000 to 1 million Haitians are believed to live in the Dominican Republic; among these numbers are many who were born in the Dominican Republic, but lack citizenship. It is estimated than an additional 30 to 50 thousand Haitian migrants fled to the Dominican Republic after the 2010 earthquake that left an approximate 1.5 million homeless.  (Sanchis)

Anti-Haitian attitudes and politics in the Dominican Republic however have limited the likelihood of an identity shift occurring. Although nothing in comparison to the massacre of thousands of Haitians under the Trujillo regime, new legislation and political action have promoted an anti-Haitian identity shift (Sagas 1994).  A 2010 Dominican legislation ended the long tradition of birthright citizenship.  Instead, “citizens must prove that they have at least one of Dominican nationality to be recognized. In other words, if you are a person born to undocumented Haitian parents living in the Dominican Republic, you no longer have the right to Dominican citizenship even if you have lived there your whole life. ”  (Raymond 2011).

Moreover, this law is being applied retroactively to those who already had Dominican citizenship (Raymond 2011). This law has left thousands effectively stateless and vulnerable to random deportation to a country they don’t know and whose language they don’t speak. (Raymond 2011).  Less than a year after the earthquake, the Dominican Republic began massive deportations of Haitian illegal migrants and those no longer recognized as Dominican citizens against the advice of the international community, implemented stricter border controls, and have pressured through local public campaigns the return of Haitian migrants back to Haiti. (Raymond 2011).


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