Haitian Migrants Face Mass Deportations from Dominican Republic
Beginning this week, the Dominican government will move forward with the deportation of an estimated 210,000 allegedly Haitian refugees living in the Dominican Republic (DR). A large majority of them have lived in the Dominican Republic for generations, have never visited Haiti or spoken Creole, or were brought over from Haiti as children
. They will be rendered stateless under the DR's draconian immigration laws,
which targets and expels those "dark-skinned Dominicans with Haitian facial features" who cannot prove, with birth certificates or citizenship papers, they legally belong in the DR.
The Dominican government has been creating a stateless underclass out of those of Haitian descent for decades,
however, the decision to deport them in massive premeditated quantities—despite fervent opposition by foreign governments and international legal and humanitarian bodies—is a decisive escalation from structural violence to physical violence at the hands of President Danilo Medina's government. The prevalence of antihaitanismo
, a pejorative ideology which "serves elite interests well and has even been accepted by the great majority of the Dominican people as part of their political culture", has its roots in the era of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, whose regime infamously warned against "Haitianizing influences, whose consequences will always be extremely fatal for Dominican society."
This ideology pulsed throughout the Parsley Massacre of 1937, in which the Trujillo regime murdered upwards of 20,000 alleged Haitians
on the basis of whether or not they could trill the "r" in perejil, the Spanish term for parsley—a perverse semantic exercise that often proved morbid for native Haitian Creole speakers.