Hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic face deportation, as a government-imposed deadline to register their presence there passed on June 17.
World Vision staff in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti are concerned this action may inadvertently cause a humanitarian crisis by unnecessarily breaking up families.
About 200,000 people of Haitian descent are in legal limbo — not recognized as a citizen by Haiti or the Dominican Republic.
Humanitarian organizations have united to offer recommendations to each country’s governments.
David Coates, World Vision’s national director in the Dominican Republic, says he’s worried about government agents indiscriminately rounding up undocumented children without considering their family situation.
“This situation will put them at risk of being deported to a country where they may not have relatives to accompany them and ensure their protection,” he said after the national registration deadline passed.
The action is the government’s follow-through on a 2013 ruling by the Constitutional Court that rendered thousands of Dominicans born to Haitian parents effectively stateless — no longer would they automatically be considered citizens at birth.
World Vision is working to ensure children affected by potential mass-deportations are protected, both in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Along with governments and other organizations, it also works to help migrant families get the documentation and resources they need to stay and thrive in the Dominican Republic.
Photo©2015 Juan Pablo Ramírez Gan/World Vision