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Marco Rubio wants U.S. to intervene in Haiti, Dominican Republic migration crisis

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wants the U.S. to work with the governments of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to resolve -- or at least ease -- turmoil between the neighboring countries over looming mass deportations.

In 2013, a Dominican court stripped citizenship from thousands of Dominican-born children of Haitian migrants, effectively leaving them stateless and prompting international outcry. The Dominican government now has a "registration" plan for the undocumented to legalize their immigration status, but the situation remains tense.

Rubio wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday asking him to reach out to the Dominicans. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio is an avid letter-writer to Kerry, especially over Cuba and Venezuela policy.

"I respectfully ask that you work with the Dominican government to ensure that the registration process for Dominicans of Haitian descent is fair and inclusive of those born in the country and provides them with the opportunity to live in the Dominican Republic," the Florida Republican and 2016 presidential candidate wrote.

"I also ask that you work with the Government of Haiti to ensure those who decide to return to that country are treated humanely and receive appropriate assistance. It is important that all individuals who are affected by this ruling are afforded all their rights as citizens of either the Dominican Republic or Haiti and that no one is left stateless."

Read Rubio's full letter below.

This post has been updated to include the PDF of Rubio's letter.

August 13, 2015

 

 

Secretary John Kerry

United States Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20220

 

Dear Secretary Kerry:

I am writing to express my concern about recent developments in the Dominican Republic, involving Dominican-born individuals of Haitian descent.

As you know, on September 23, 2013, the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court issued a controversial ruling, which rescinded citizenship previously granted to many residents of the Dominican Republican with Haitian heritage.  The court issued a ruling that retroactively stripped citizenship from the children of parents who were not “legal residents” at the time of their birth. This ruling was made on the basis that their parents were “in transit” and not residing in the Dominican Republic.

The ruling stated that as a result, the children of the parents “in transit”, and subsequent generations born on Dominican soil, are excluded from the citizenship guarantee provided by the Dominican constitution. This has effectively stripped citizenship from the descendants of Haitian migrants who have settled in the Dominican Republic for over 80 years. The vast majority of these individuals will be left stateless if this ruling is enforced.  Tens of thousands of people have reportedly left the Dominican Republic voluntarily and face an uncertain fate in Haiti, where they lack ties and Haitian authorities have not had the resources to assist them.

While the Dominican government has begun the process of registering both Haitians born in the Dominican Republic and adults who have immigrated to the Dominican Republic in a program referred to as "regularization,” there are large numbers of persons of Haitian descent who lack any documentation to prove their nationality.

Therefore, I respectfully ask that you work with the Dominican government to ensure that the registration process for Dominicans of Haitian descent is fair and inclusive of those born in the country and provides them with the opportunity to live in the Dominican Republic.  I also ask that you work with the Government of Haiti to ensure those who decide to return to that country are treated humanely and receive appropriate assistance. It is important that all individuals who are affected by this ruling are afforded all their rights as citizens of either the Dominican Republic or Haiti and that no one is left stateless.

It is also important that the United States continue to support the people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and I look forward to your updates on your outreach to both governments.  

Sincerely,

 

 

Marco Rubio

United States Senator

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