SAN JUAN – The Regional Cultural Committee of the Caribbean Community recommended Monday that the 15-member organization urge the Dominican Republic to “desist” from deporting Dominican-born descendants of Haitian migrants, a policy some fear could be imitated by other countries in the region.
CARICOM should advise the Dominican Republic “to immediately cease and desist such overtly racist policies disguised as state foreign policy,” the Committee said in a statement.
“We are mindful that while descendants of Haitian migrants might be seen as a clearly identifiable group in the context of the Dominican Republic, the ethnic similarities and cultural commonalities to the vast majority of the Caribbean population caution us that a similar policy can be utilized to expel wider groups of CARICOM peoples from nations,” the Committee said.
The Committee pointed to historical episodes such as “Nazi Germany, South Africa under apartheid law and legal segregation in the (U.S.) Southern states” that “demonstrate clearly the immediate danger of such state-endorsed violence against members of our Caribbean family.”
Many people born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents faced immense obstacles when trying to obtain the right documentation to register for the National Regularization Plan and only around 240,000 applications were received ahead of a June 17 deadline.
In the past, the Dominican government cited unofficial estimates of around 1 million Haitians living in the country, most of them illegal immigrants working in agriculture and construction.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion. While both countries are poor by global standards, Haiti is destitute.
The Dominican Republic is not a member of CARICOM, although it has applied for membership.
Haiti is one of the 15 members, along with Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.