Photo Credit: Photo by Zach Vessels
Dominican Republic And U.S. Lock Horns Over Haitian Deportations And More
A spike in deportations of Haitians by the Dominican Republic has prompted criticism from the U.S. lately. The latter is concerned about how this might impact Black Americans going in and out of the Dominican Republic.
As noted by the U.S. Department of State, “the Dominican Republic’s most important trading partner is The United States,” and relations between them are largely positive.
That’s more than one can say of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where social and political strife are nothing new.
Why Is The U.S. Critical Of DR's Actions?
The Dominican Republic is stepping up deportations of Haitian migrants, in response to “gang violence and political instability.”
But the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo expressed concerns that Black Americans might “get caught up in the sweep.”
They added, “travelers to the Dominican Republic have reported being delayed, detained, or subject to heightened questioning at ports of entry and in other encounters with immigration officials based on their skin color.”
Dominican Officials Fought Back
Dominican officials held back nothing in their response, which you can read in Spanish here.
In a nutshell, they said they had the right to defend their borders as they saw fit. They also pointed out that the U.S. hardly has room to talk, considering what the Biden administration has done with respect to Haiti.
They wrote, “la misma administración Biden ha deportado a Haití, entre febrero de 2021 y febrero de 2022, más de 20,000 migrantes haitianos.”
The Biden administration has deported more than 20,000 Haitian migrants between February 2021 and February 2022.
The U.S. Helped Revive Dominican Tourism
The U.S. has been crucial in jump-starting Dominican tourism in the pandemic era.
Bloomberg reported, “the US is the Dominican Republic’s largest trading partner and US visitors have helped give the country one of the strongest post-pandemic tourism recoveries of anywhere in the world.”
The Conflict Between Islands Is Long Standing
Tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic go back many years.
They make up Hispaniola and both have experienced slavery and colonization. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Under former Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, scores of Haitians, (including Dominicans of Haitian descent) were massacred.
According to NPR, “one right-wing Dominican politician suggested building a wall on the border to send a message to migrants.”