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In Photos: Housing the Men and Women Being Deported From the Dominican Republic

The Fond Bayord Community School has been functioning as a boarding home for those who have been deported from the Dominican Republic under the country's new harshly criticized regularization plan.

by Eric Fernandez and Chris Gregory
Jun 26 2015, 8:55am

Photos by Christopher Gregory

Malpasse is a destitute village about two miles into Haiti, past the Jimani-Malpasse border crossing. It's home to the Fond Bayord Community School, which has been functioning as a boarding home for those who have been deported from the Dominican Republic under the country's new harshly criticized regularization plan.

A 2013 ruling by the Dominican Republic's top court rendered hundreds of thousands of Dominican-Haitians in the country effectively stateless by revoking their citizenship. After an outcry from the international community, the Dominican government passed a law allowing residents a pathway to naturalization. The deadline for those registering for naturalization at government bureaus around the country was June 17.

Leaders if the Fond Bayord Community School, run by Pastor Sinas Saintilus, have repurposed its classrooms to house some 30-40 deportees at any given time, although they consistently come and go. Many were taken from their homes at night by Dominican authorities, despite some holding legitimate Dominican birth certificates, and dropped at the border to fend for themselves.

John, a deportee living at Fond Bayord, told VICE News that a group of uniformed men arrived at his house late at night to deport him, threatening him and his family with knives and machetes. They told them and other Dominican-Haitians and Haitian migrants living in his village that they would burn their houses down if they did not leave willingly.

"The guard told me to get on the bus," Sanu Bresil, a 23-year old Dominican of Haitian decent who was born in the Dominican Republic, explained to VICE News. "I was born in Cabral. I had papers, but the guards ripped them up."

Another Dominican-Haitian living at Fond Bayard named Roseni Casten even showed VICE News the Dominican birth certificates of her two children. She explained that when the immigration authorities deported her, they didn't give her a chance to show them the documents.

Haitian President Michel Martelly announced last week that his government will not be acknowledging Dominican-Haitians deported by Dominican authorities — making deportees potentially subject to a state of legal limbo, and effective statelessness.

The government estimates that about 288,000 people signed up for the regularization process by the June 17 deadline, although this does not guarantee them residency. An estimated 250,000 who did not sign up, both Haitian migrants and Dominican-born Haitians alike, are at risk of immediate deportation.

Related:  Families Are Deporting Themselves to Haiti: Dominican Deadlock (Dispatch 3)

Mavena Bresil, 24, from Cabral, Dominican Republic, photographed where she is staying along with 30 other Haitians deported from her country just across the border. Bresil is now stateless. Despite being born and living her entire life in the Dominican Republic, making her a rightful citizen, she was deported in December along with her son, Jean Vincent, 8, to a country in which she does not have citizenship or any connection. Her brother Sanu was deported last Friday, and they both reunited at the Bayord Community School, which serves as a temporary shelter for recent deportees. They are staying in one of three classrooms housing 30-40 deportees in a school and church complex just across the border in Haiti.

The amenities in the complex, which has been appropriated as the first stop for recent deportees.

Many of the locals and recent deportees that call this area just across the border in Haiti home fish in Etang Saumâtre, the lake on the Haitian side of the border for sustenance.

Sanu Bresil, 23, from Cabral, photographed outside a room where he is staying along with other Haitians deported from Dominican Republic. When the authorities arrested him on June 19, according to Sanu, they tore up his birth certificate, which he produced at the time of his detainment. At left is Sunel Jean Joseph, 15, who was also deported. He was dropped off at the border with his father.

Men spend the day under a tree in a church and school complex that has been appropriated as the first stop for recent deportees.

A small grouping of houses on the Haitian side of the border.

A woman deportee sleeps in a church and school complex for recent deportees.  

Adre Joseph, 53, from La Villa, Dominican Republic photographed outside a room where he is staying along with other Haitians deported from Dominican Republic. He is staying in one of three classrooms housing deportees.

A young girl shows her braids in a church and school complex that has been appropriated as the first stop for recent deportees.

Roseni Casten, 19, from Barahona, photographed in one of the rooms of a school she is staying at. She was deported in January along with her three children. 

The birth certificate of Casten's son Asnel, who was born in the Dominican Republic. 

Sanu Bresil photographed outside a room where he is staying along with other Haitians deported from Dominican Republic. He fishes in Etang Saumâtre.

Asnel Casten, 1, from Barahona, sleeps where he is staying along with his two siblings, his mother and other deported Haitians.

Related: In Photos: Life at the Largest Border Crossing Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Follow Eric Fernandez and Chris Gregory on Twitter: @Wakeupitsfern and @cgregoryphoto

This story was produced with support from LG as part of the Photos from Beyond program. VICE News maintains all editorial independence in the production of this content.

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