Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson
August 14, 2015
The United States is aware of the decision by the Dominican Republic to begin deporting persons who are deemed illegally present in the country. We recognize the prerogative of the Dominican Republic to remove individuals from its territory who are present without authorization. At the same time, we urge the Dominican Republic to avoid mass deportations and to conduct any deportations in a transparent manner that fully respects the human rights of deportees. Deportation procedures must adhere to clear, publicly available and verifiable protocols and procedures. Dominican nationality and migration policies and practices should be consistent with Dominican law and the Dominican Republic’s international obligations and commitments.
We urge the Government of the Dominican Republic to permit the observation of deportation proceedings by civil society groups and international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, including at the borders. We remain deeply concerned that individuals with a right to citizenship or otherwise eligible to remain in the Dominican Republic may not have had sufficient time and means to access the processes to regulate and formalize their status and have their claims adjudicated. Therefore, it is imperative that the Dominican Republic effectively screen people potentially subject to deportation to determine if they are Dominican citizens, require international protection, or are eligible for naturalization or regularization. In all cases, the Dominican Republic should take measures adequate to prevent the risk of statelessness and the discriminatory confiscation of documents.
We encourage the Dominican Republic and Haiti to consult and collaborate with each other to develop effective processes and procedures for the safe and orderly return of migrants across their shared border. These processes should be consistent with each country’s international obligations and commitments, uphold the rule of law, provide procedural safeguards to guarantee appropriate treatment of deportees, and facilitate the immediate return of individuals deported from the Dominican Republic who have a right of citizenship or presence in the country.
The United States will continue to actively monitor developments in the Dominican Republic, and engage the Government of the Dominican Republic to ensure the protection of human rights, encourage social inclusion of all people, and work to prevent the arbitrary deprivation of nationality for legal citizens.