The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announce the next round of HFRP invitations will take place in mid-late November. Read the full announcement at www.ReuniteHaitianFamilies.com and learn about the Reunite Haitian American Families campaign led by Black Immigration Network members that helped make this program possible.
On October 21, the Rights 4 All in DR Campaign held an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, visiting congressional leaders to educate them on the crisis of statelessness facing Dominicans of Haitian descent. BAJI Policy Coordinator Carl Lipscombe wrote about the importance of getting U.S. leaders taking action, “Unfortunately, the U.S. government has done little to support the thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, many who have relatives in the U.S. While several lawmakers have met with the Dominican government to no avail, the State department has yet to take an official stance against the deportations and a resolution denouncing the DR’s human rights abuses has yet to gain traction.
During our meetings with legislators we urged them to sign on to a joint letter to the State Department urging them to intervene, to reintroduce the resolution denouncing the unjust deportations in the DR, and to hold a congressional hearing on the matter.
We’re hopeful that Congress will take action –you can help by sending a letter to Congress urging them to respond to this urgent issue.
African-American and Black Immigrant Leaders Condemn the Government of Dominican Republic Ethnic Cleansing
Decry Racist Policy Denationalizing Dominicans and Children of Haitian Migrants as a violation of Human Rights
Approximately two weeks ago, an estimated 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent have been stripped of legal status due to a court decision that denationalizes generations of native and foreign-born Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. The ruling codified as Resolution 168/13 by the Dominican Republic’s Tribunal Constitution on September 23, 2013, retroactively removed the citizenship status of Dominicans of Haitian descent, rendering them stateless. This action denies these community members the required documentation to exercise basic civil rights such as: travel, work, voting, public education and housing. In essence, this ruling strips Dominicans of Haitian descent of their human rights and dignity, forcing them off their land, tearing families apart and violently deporting residents without a moment’s notice or due process.
U.S.-based national formation the Black Immigration Network stands with the international community in condemning the Dominican Republic’s actions. The expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian Descent and Haitian migrants, regardless of immigration status, is unconscionable and wrong. The Black Immigration Network, a national organization of Black immigrants and African Americans, recognizes the racialized realities of the mass deportations and criminalization of black people as a human rights crisis. The policy is in violation of international human rights law, including the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). The practice of denationalization and deportation is a continuation of the legacy of anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and must be stopped.
Resolution 168/13 has enshrined and bolstered a social and political climate that puts black people in the Dominican Republic in grave danger. Xenophobic violence including public lynchings of people presumed to be of Haitian ancestry. Raids and arson has plagued this nation for years and is currently on the rise. Already, over 30,000 people have fled to neighboring Haiti, in fear for their lives and uncertain of their status and ability to return to their homes in the Dominican Republic.
The Black Immigration Network (BIN) stands with people of conscience around the globe, international stakeholders, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to demand the Dominican government immediately halt the removal of denationalized Dominicans and Haitian immigrants, and guarantee that individuals are not arbitrarily, unjustly, and permanently deprived of their civil and human rights.
BIN supports a boycott of all tourism to the Dominican Republic and urges the United States government to use this period to expand the U.S. Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP) in an effort to provide reprieve and justice for those adversely impacted by lagging immigration policies in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic.
The Black Immigration Network calls for a Week of Action July 27- August 1, in partnership with grassroots activist and organizations to bring attention to this injustice and international solidarity to end this human rights crisis. All Black lives matter, beyond borders — the time is now for a global movement to stop anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and promote national reconciliation.
This statement is published publically and available via Huffington Post Black Voices
Media Inquiries: Tia Oso, BIN National Coordinator - 480-382-1753 – Tia (AT) BlackAlliance.org
5 Ways You Can Stand In Solidarity With Dominicans of Haitian Descent
As of June 17, approximately 210,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent are under threat of deportation by the Dominican Government. Since 2004, the Dominican government has implemented a rigorous set of policy including the Ruling Sentence 168/13 of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic, including a 2010 interpretation of the citizenship provisions of the Constitution which ”ruled that the children of undocumented migrants who have been in the Dominican Republic and registered as Dominicans as far back as 1929, cannot have Dominican nationality as their parents are considered to be “in transit.”
The enforcement of this ruling, aimed at revoking the citizenship and civil rights of people of Haitian descent, both native born and immigrants has rendered those affected stateless. The rulings and actions of the government have fueled anti-Haitian sentiment, leading to violence against “Haitian looking” people and an increase in widespread discrimination. June 16 marked the deadline for those who could prove their nationality rights to “regularize” and all are now subject to deportation. The Dominican government has reportedly secured dozens of busses and built “Welcome Centers” at the Haitian/Dominican border in preparation for removals.
As the international community watches this ethnic cleansing, the Black Immigration Network reached out to members organizations and allies in the Haitian American community for ways that community, organizations and leaders can support advocacy efforts, raise awareness and stand in solidarity with the communities of Dominican people affected by this human rights crisis.
Here are 5 ways you and your organization can help:
1.SIGN: Add your organization’s name to an Open Letter to President Danilo Medina, Dominican Republic: bit.ly/HaitianLivesMatter
2. TWEET: the Twitter Rally all day today using the hashtag #HaitianLivesMatter. Tell @PresidenciaRD #HaitianLivesMatter!
3. EDUCATE: Use and share these links and resources to learn more about the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian Descent
- Haitian Writer and Activist Edwidge Dandicat speaks about mass deportations to Haiti on Democracy Now
- End Apartheid in the Dominican Republic - https://endapartheidinthedr.wordpress.com/
- We Are All Dominican- https://wearealldominicannyc.wordpress.com/solidarity/
- Watch this Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees Video on the Birthright Crisis
4. JOIN: A solidarity action in your area or plan one - https://endapartheidinthedr.wordpress.com/actions/
5. BOYCOTT: many groups are calling for a boycott of travel and tourism to the Dominican Republic until the government rescinds its denationalization of Haitian descendents and addresses racism in the Dominican Republic. Follow the campaign on social media #ENDAPARTHEIDINDR, #DONTGO2DR, #BOYCOTTDR
Law School Clinics Release Report Documenting the Devastating Consequences of U.S. Deportations to Haiti
Report argues that returning people to post-earthquake Haiti violates human rights
ORAL GABLES, FL (February 16, 2015) – A report documenting the failure of the United States to safeguard the human rights of those it deports to post-earthquake Haiti has been released by the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics at the University of Miami School of Law and the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law. To view the report, click here.
The law school clinics collaborated with Alternative Chance/Chans Alternativ, Americans for Immigration Justice, Haitian Women of Miami (FANM), and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti to conduct extensive fact-finding about the treatment of men and women who were deported on account of a criminal history, including over 100 interviews of deportees. The report recommends that the United States halt deportations to Haiti in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to all Haitian nationals.
“We hope this report moves the U.S. government to stop deportations to Haiti,” said Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM (Haitian Women of Miami). “Post-earthquake Haiti is unable to safely receive deportees.” Deportees face high levels of violence, lack of access to healthcare, and an inability to find employment and housing.
Deportations to Haiti affect deportees as well as the family left behind in the United States, imposing additionally financial and emotional strain on the spouses and children of deportees. “The government has taken away my father, my best friend,” said a teenage girl whose father was deported after the earthquake.
Shortly after the earthquake, the United States granted TPS to eligible Haitians, which allowed them to stay in the United States. Excluded from protection under TPS are individuals convicted of two misdemeanors or one felony. Over the past five years, the U.S. has forcibly returned approximately 1,500 men and women, including parents of U.S. citizen children, people with severe medical and mental health conditions, and those with only minor criminal records.
“This report would not have been possible without deportees willing to share their stories of the almost insurmountable obstacles they face in post-earthquake Haiti,” said Geoffrey Louden, a third year law student at the University of Miami School of Law who traveled to Haiti last October and worked on the report. “We urge policymakers to listen”.
This week marks five years since the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 devastating Haiti’s capitol Port Au Prince and the surrounding area. This anniversary is a sobering reminder to all that families in Haiti are still struggling and we must do all that we can to assist. The Reunite Haitian Families Campaign, along with the ongoing efforts of organizations and individuals fighting for nearly five years, successfully petitioned the department of Homeland Security (DHS) to initiate a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) program. Today it is time to take action to ensure that implementation is full, fair and just!
The HFRP program as announced only benefits a few of the 110,000 approved petition holders and no details are available regarding implementation. The Reunite Haitian Family Campaign is rallying advocates to call for a fully implemented Haitian Family Reunification Parole program to speed recovery efforts, reunite families on years long waiting list and provide much needed relief to thousands still struggling as the economy and infrastructure are rebuilt.
Take action! Every effort is needed to help as Haiti’s communities work to rebuild. Sign and share the petition and add your organization endorsement to join this campaign today! The Black Immigration Network is committed to fighting for family unification and advocating for policies that bring Black immigrant families together is crucial. Your support and voice in this effort has helped to win the creation of HFRP, and now we need you to ensure that a fair and just program is carried out.
In recognition of the anniversary, this video report by the Miami Herald shares a compelling update on the status of recovery in Haiti and why we must continue to fight and work together for the resilient, strong families rebuilding their lives after this tragedy.
With the DHS announcement of a Haitian Reunification Parole program, we will unite our voices to call for a program that includes all 110,000 families with approved petitions. Join us all day on Wednesday October 29:
- Share stories, pictures and messages about reunification means for your family.
- Show your support using the hashtag #ReuniteHaitianFams
- Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ to show your support using hashtag – #ReuniteHaitianFams. (Use this sign: Selfie-#ReuniteHaitianFams)
- Join the campaign at www.ReuniteHaitianFamilies.com
Over 110,000 Haitian American Families are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, over four years since the devastating earthquake of 2010. These families need relief now, and you can help! Share this “Top 10″ list with your networks, sign the petition and demand a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, now! Download the Flier in ENGLISH and CREOLE.