Florida Congresswoman Wants State Department to Investigate Dominican Republic Deporting Haitians

Last week, U.S. Rep. Shelia Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., led a letter of more than a dozen other lawmakers urging the U.S. Department of State and the international community to investigate the mass deportations of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic, insisting there are “discriminatory, anti-Black migration enforcement practices.”

It is estimated that between August 1, 2022, and October 31, 2022, the Dominican Republic deported nearly 60,000 Haitians and people of Haitian ancestry.

On November 19, 2022, the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory Alert citing “Ongoing Dominican Migration Enforcement.” According to the alert, in recent months, “travelers to the Dominican Republic have reported being delayed, detained, or subject to heightened questioning at ports of entry and in other encounters with immigration officials based on their skin color.”

The deportation of Haitian migrants run counter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk’s, recent calls “for deportation to Haiti to stop, given the human rights and humanitarian crises the country is facing.”

“Given the historical context of Dominican Republic-Haiti relations, it is evident that race factors into the marginalized treatment of Haitian migrants by the Dominican Republic government. There is widespread video evidence that the National Police are targeting individuals who possess African-like phenotypic (i.e., Black) features and deporting them. Black citizens, residents, and migrants in the Dominican Republic are in such grave danger that even Black Americans have been cautioned against traveling to the country, as they are equally at risk of detention or deportation. If the Dominican Republic continues its discriminatory, anti-Black practices, we fear that Black people from all nations may be subjected to inhumane treatment by the Dominican Republic,” said the members. “Additionally, we request that the international community continue to call for the cessation of forced returns of Haitians to Haiti by all countries in the region, including the Dominican Republic, as the unremitting gang violence and systematic human rights violations in Haiti do not currently allow for the safe return of Haitians to Haiti.”

Among the dozen members who signed the letter were U.S. Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-NY, Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

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