Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Think Tank Tuesday 11/12/13: Thy Brother's Keeper: Shame On You Dominican Republic

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How can people who share an island and a common ancestry be treated so vastly different? Children born to Haitian immigrants may be prevented from receiving citizenship and potentially be deported creating a major humanitarian crisis despite their parents citizenship status:

[Almost 20 of the most prominent Latino political and civil rights organizations in the United States signed an open letter to Dominican President Danilo Medina Sánchez on Monday, asking him to block the implementation of a Constitutional Court ruling that would deprive Dominican-born children of Haitian immigrants from receiving citizenship.

The ruling stands to leave as many as 200,000 people stateless, according to the Open Society Justice Initiative.

“If implemented, the court’s decision stands to cause a humanitarian crisis, potentially leaving hundreds of thousands of people stateless, facing mass deportation and discrimination,” the letter signed by the Hispanic Federation, Latino Justice PRLDEF and the League of United Latin American Citizens, among others, says. “We respectfully request that you act immediately to stop the implementation of this ruling.”

Haitian immigrants and their children have found themselves in legal limbo for years in the Dominican Republic. The two countries share the island of Hispa├▒ola, and as many as half a million people of Haitian descent now reside in the Dominican Republic. In Aug. 2004, the Dominican Republic did away with birthright citizenship and applied the new law retroactively to Dominican-born descendants of Haitian immigrants -- regardless of their parents' legal status. Many of those affected by the immigration law were born to parents who left Haiti decades ago.]source:

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