Posted on December 5, 2022

Why Is the Dominican Republic Deporting Black People to Haiti?

Natasha S. Alford, The Grio, December 2, 2022

For Black Americans who were excited to vacation in the Dominican Republic, the warning was urgent:

“Carry your passport with you.”

The U.S. Embassy issued the guidance to “darker-skinned” citizens of “African descent” after reporting that many travelers had been stopped and questioned by Dominican immigration officials “based on their skin color.”

Not only had travelers been detained, but an estimated 43,000 people, mostly of Haitian origin, were being deported across the border to Haiti.  {snip}


“This is not only just happening to people who are actually Haitian, who have their Haitian passports and their Haitian citizenship, but people who have their ID as proof of whether they are Dominican of Dominican nationality,” says Isa Reyes, research manager for In Cultured Company, a leadership development organization focused on Haitian and Dominican relations. {snip}

While the deportations and resulting impact on Black foreigners may be making headlines, the deportation of Haitians is part of a long legacy of tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic — a legacy activists say has racist roots.

“It’s important to understand what the roots of this conflict are and that they’re essentially a conflict between the D.R. and its own Blackness,” says France Francois, founder and CEO of In Cultured Company, in an interview with theGrio.  “A lot of people paint this as an issue between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but you don’t see the same kind of retaliatory actions on the Haitian side.”


“Dominicans are often taught that they are a white Spanish nation, in contrast to Haiti being an African Creole-speaking nation,” Francois tells theGrio. “And this allowed internalized anti-blackness to manifest in the D.R.”


The Dominican government has pointed the finger back at the U.S. for its own controversial treatment of U.S. migrants and Abinader has explicitly rejected claims that Haitians are being mistreated during deportations.

“You can’t ask anything more from the Dominican Republic. … We’re going to continue the deportations and next week we’re going to increase them,” Abinader said in response to the criticism, according to the Associated Press.

They’re not treating the South American, the Venezuelan immigrants who have overstayed their visas in the Dominican Republic in the same way,” says Francois.  “In fact, the Dominican Republic has offered their help to European migrants who have been facing refugee crises as well, extending their help to Ukrainian refugees. So it’s a very deliberate attempt to enact violence on Black people in the Dominican Republic.”