International News

Dominican Racism: Nation To Eject Thousands of Lifelong Residents

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At 24, he has never visited Haiti. Not even once. He also faces deportation should he refuse to apply for an identification card as a foreigner. "I'm scared," he says, "I will keep on fighting for my rights to Dominican nationality."

Indira Luis was born in the Dominican Republic. So were her father, mother and her grandparents.. Her only connection to Haiti was her great-grandparents. According to the Dominican Government, Indira's great-grandparents did not have proper documents when they entered the country 80 years ago and now their great-granddaughter inherits their illegal status.

Indira lives in a batey. It is impossible for her to go to school. She was informed by the Central Electoral Junta that her Dominican identification papers are subject to review: "Suddenly, I feel everything is falling apart around me," she laments.. "I don't even know who I am any more. Now I am no longer a Dominican although I've never stepped foot in Haiti from the time I was born."

Her greatest concern is the risk of deportation to Haiti. "How will I live in a country that I have never visited my entire life?" she asks. "I would lose my mind."

Jackson Previl graduated from high school 3 years ago. Because of discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian origin, he cannot realize his dream of going to university to become a civil engineer."I have provided all the documents required by the Central Electoral Junta. I turned in a certificate of baptism, a certificate from the hospital where I was born and they still refuse to validate my birth certificate" he says.

To earn a living, he works in a small shoe repair shop. He is a shoemaker. He cannot go to school. He has no access to the labor market. "I have no future here," he says in a voice full of despair.

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New Times staff