BROOKLYN - The possible deportation of Haitian nationals from the Dominican Republic has sparked international criticism and outrage.
Here in Brooklyn, a Haitian radio host has been following the issue closely. Ricot Dupuy is the director and host of Haitian station Radio Soleil in Flatbush.
Recently, Dupuy has been outspoken in his criticism of the Dominican Republic's actions toward Haitians. "They've needed our labor, they've used us, we've helped build the economy of that country, and now they don't need us anymore," he says.
For years, Haitians born in the Dominican Republic were automatically citizens. But in early February, thousands of Haitians in the country became stateless after a law reversed the right of citizenship for foreigners in the country. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians lacking identity documents now face deportation.
Dupuy says the law has obvious political timing. "The political dimension of this is to deny them the right to vote also and prevent them from influencing political outcomes in the country," he says.
He and other critics accuse the U.S. Of being nearly inactive on the issue. "What do the United States do when they identify grave mass violations of human rights? They are expected to act. So far we haven't seen any action on that front," he says.
Dominican officials say the law is meant to fight illegal immigration. Human rights defenders, however, argue that it's rooted in longstanding racism toward darker-skinned Haitians.
"This is no less than a crime against humanity," Dupuy says.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been critical of the Dominican Republic, calling its actions illegal, immoral and racist.
The New York Times reports that more than 30,000 Haitians have left the country on their own, rather than risk losing everything to deportation.