Why ‘Naturalization’ Laws in the Dominican Republic are not just a “Dominican” Problem

Haitian laborer in Domincan Republic 

By: Amberly Alene Ellis
Photo Credits: Amberly Alene Ellis

When Haitian representative of the Nation of Islam, Joseph Makhandal spoke at the Justice or Else March led by Louis Farrakhan in October, whispers and chattering from the lips of black and brown faces spilled through the National Mall.

Though the conflict of naturalization in the Dominican Republic is not a new development, the subject has recently surfaced in mainstream media outlets. At most, the coverage has been severely shallow. Many black and brown American people do not know the deep history of the issue or what it means for their own collective struggles in the United States.  I argue for fighters against the devaluing of black American bodies to critically access the global infrastructures of racial injustice. In particular, these fighters for justice in America should examine how injustice is sustained for their very close neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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  1. The treatment of Haitian vagrants and their posterity in the Dominican Republic is a piece of a more extensive battle for the privileges of migrants who are regularly abused for shoddy work yet underestimated socially and utilized as political devices.

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