Protests challenge deportation of Haitians

haitians_0716July 1 saw protests in Miami, Philadelphia and New York City against the Dominican Republic’s policy of deporting Dominicans of Haitian descent.

The protest in New York, held in front of the Times Square Dominican Consulate, was called by two Dominican organizations: We are All Dominicans and Black Lives Matter in the Dominican Republic. The speakers connected the racist way Dominican immigrants to the United States are treated, noting that Dominicans in the U.S. are considered Black, to the racist way Haitians and the descendants of Haitians are treated in the Dominican Republic.

The New York demonstration was composed predominantly of Dominicans, with some non-Dominican progressives and some Haitians. A longtime Haitian activist explained: “The Haitian community in New York needs a firmer mobilization over the issue of expulsions in the DR. But splits in the Lavalas movement in Haiti are reflected here and also the community is politically exhausted, concentrating on solving its personal problems flowing from its status as ‘immigrants oppressed by racism.’”

The protest in Philadelphia on July 1 was called by a group of Haitian organizations: the Haitian Coalition of Philadelphia, Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia, Haitian Clergy of Philadelphia and the United Kingdom Youth Ministry. They marched along Market Street to the Liberty Bell site chanting, “One island, one blood!” and “L’Union fait la force!” — a Haitian slogan meaning “Unity is strength.”

In Miami, the demonstrations began with the chant “Enough is enough!” The Miami demonstrators also called the Dominican Republic’s deportation policy racist.

“We will not stop until justice is done, and this is injustice,” North Miami Councilmember Alix Desulme said. The protesters later went to the Dominican Consulate in Miami, where they left a resolution demanding that the Dominican Republic change its immigration policy.

WW photo: G. Dunkel