Haitians in Dominican Republic face violence, abuse

Catholic San Francisco Assistant Editor Rick DelVecchio and two other Catholic journalists recently spent eight days in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to report on migrants and refugees, whose vulnerability as they cross national borders in search of a better life is a growing humanitarian concern.

“Whatever happens in the Dominican Republic, they blame a Haitian,” said Saint Marc, 66. “Somebody died, they blame a Haitian. They rob a house, they blame Haitians. You might be lying on your bed and next thing they come and get you because they accuse you of a crime.”

Nearly all Haitians in the Dominican Republic are undocumented, and their status primes them for victimization. They get little help from their own government.

“Haitian authorities do little or nothing to help their citizens regularize their status in their host countries,” Jesuit Refugee Service said in a statement after a conference in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince Oct. 25. This further marginalizes Haitians and puts them at risk of human rights violations and deportation, the group said.

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