Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the humanitarian crisis in the Dominican Republic, where the government has initiated the deportation of several hundred thousand Haitians and people of Haitian descent.
There are almost half a million Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. 288,000 people have registered for legal status to remain there, but reports indicate that ninety percent of applicants could not submit the required evidence of having been in the Dominican Republic continuously since October 2011.
“Today, hundreds of thousands of Haitian nationals and individuals of Haitian descent are threatened with deportation from the Dominican Republic, a policy that will only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, which has not yet recovered from the earthquake in 2010, and displace many families from their homes. Many of the people scheduled for deportation were born in the Dominican Republic or have been there for almost their entire lives. There are reports that Haitians who are eligible to remain in the Dominican Republic have not been allowed to complete the forms required to remain there. We cannot reasonably expect families who were displaced by the earthquake to have full documentation of their place of residence at every time since 2011. In addition, I am deeply concerned about the policy of requiring Haitians to carry documents proving their legal status in the Dominican Republic to avoid arrest, which recalls the policy of South Africa under apartheid in which Black people were required to carry a passbook in order to travel. Without jobs in Haiti or families to support them or homes in which to live, these displaced families will suffer the depredations of extreme poverty. I urge the Government of the Dominican Republic to reconsider this deportation policy and to work with the community of nations in the Caribbean to prevent this unnecessary crisis from occurring. With my colleagues in Congress and with the Department of State, I will work to prevent the forced removal of hundreds of thousands of Haitians and people of Haitian descent from their homes.”
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the House of Representatives, a member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as well as the Committee on Ethics and the Committee of Small Business. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.