Dominican Republic expelled 1800 children to Haiti without their parents.
The Dominican Republic was the only country in the hemisphere to expel its citizens during the 1970s to remove a population from their ancestral homeland. The Dominican Republic sent more than 18,000 Dominicans to Haiti in the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, in return for the Dominican government agreeing to take back the island’s small French community of former settlers.
By the mid-1980s, around 50,000 Dominicans had been granted political asylum in Haiti. In 1991, the Dominican government established the Dominican Republic National Center for Human Rights and Public Liberties to help Haitians. The center assisted those who sought asylum in the Dominican Republic, though these efforts were limited to those who did not have the resources to find legal representation. Those without the means, or those who had lost their political asylum after the Haitian government began enforcing laws against Haitian deportees, were left to fend for themselves. In response to widespread abuses and neglect, the government of Haiti established its own human rights commission, the National Commission for Human Rights and Public Liberties. The National Commission began working closely with the Dominican Republic’s civil society in 1997.
The Dominican Republic began to deport Haitians in the early 2000s, with many deported under the “Auxiliary Law of Immigration of Haiti,” which prohibited the deportation of Haitians without a court decision. In the following years, nearly 500 deportees made use of the Haitian Refugee Protection Program, which was based on a legal loophole that allowed Haiti to waive deportation without the approval of the Haitian government.
The Dominican Repatriation Act of 2001, the first attempt to deport Haitians based on a law passed by the Dominican Congress, was designed to make it more difficult for the Dominican government to deport Haitians, by giving the nation’s deportations priority over those from other nations. As with Haiti, Haiti’s law only allowed deportations to be carried out if the country receiving the deportees had jurisdiction over