This coming Sunday promised to be a terrifying one for the Dominican Republic's largest minority group, Dominican-born Haitians, as their residence permits were about to expire, with it coming instant deportation to Haiti, a place most Haitians born to parents in transit in the DR had never even visited.
Decision 168-13 by the DR's top constitutional court in 2013 -- known as "La Sentencia" by the Haitian people -- declared that anyone born on Dominican soil after 1929 to parents in an irregular manner, or "in transit," was not a Dominican citizen. The court's decision, a 147-page document, relies on Colombian and Spanish precedent to establish that birth on Dominican soil does not automatically confer citizenship, and that the length of time lived in a country does not eventually also confer the right to citizenship.
After intense international pressure, the Dominican Congress approved law 169-14, which set forth a path for most of the people affected by "La Sentencia" to receive a residence permit and eventually regain the right to a Dominican passport.
With 143,000 of the residence permits issued by the government after the passage of law 169-14 up for renewal, many people were simply priced out, as 300 dollars represents a massive financial burden for most Haitians in the Dominican Republic, and thus far the Haitian Embassy has been unwilling, or perhaps unable, to provide its citizens with passports and birth certificates which allow their nationals to prove their identities.
Nonetheless, the Dominican government relied on FBI assistance to build a biometric database of the 143,000 individuals who will now be able to stay in the country, as many had lost their fingerprints working the sugarcane fields, having only their faces to prove their identities.
Exactly what prompted the Dominican President to change course at the last minute is not certain, but Minister of the Interior Jose Ramon Fadul argued that it was an act of compassion, since the government knew that a Haitian family of 5 could never gamble 1500 dollars on staying in the DR, especially with the Haitian government stalling in distributing birth certificates and passports to its nationals.
It seems that Haiti's former colonial master came to the rescue, with sources close to the government of Mr. Medina speculating that France offering visa-free access for Dominican citizens going on layover in the European Union came with a request to delay the deportation of anyone who could not meet all of the requirements set forth by Dominican immigration authorities.
|143,000 lives used for secret deal. Metropolitano|
That France would offer layover rights and promise to start talks about visa-free access to the EU for citizens of a country about to engage against one of its former colonies in what some legal experts have dubbed a "civil genocide" only shows that Mr. Medina granting residence permit to Haitians was never about "compassion," but rather about getting concessions from the international community, at the expense of Dominican sovereignty and of decisions by the nation's top courts.
For the right to EU visas, it seems that Mr. Medina is willing to do exactly what Turkey's Erdogan has done in exacerbating a refugee crisis while radically altering with Syrian foreigners the demographics of not just Turkey, but also of the European Union; except that this crisis was not exacerbated by war refugees, but rather by economic migrants and a very strict court decision that relies on European and Latin American legal precedent.
Deporting people who can't pay upwards of 1250 euros is something that the Netherlands has done, as per our editor-in-chief's immigration lawyer, thus meaning that there is no basis in international law to go after the Dominican Republic for deporting a family of 5 unable to pay 1500 euros.
As one of the Dominican Republic's chief jurists, Vinicio Castillo, has argued, the Haitian government will not give documents to its citizens in a year, or even two, because the current parasitic elite are dependent on United Nations forces and constant crises in order to rule over a weak and demoralized populace.
The Haitian elite needs another crisis, and the French are afraid that it could fuel more claims for reparations. For once, however, it is the Dominican elite that have successfully negotiated concessions from the French.