By Zachary Guiliano
The House of Bishops passed resolution D058 (Dominicans of Haitian Descent), which would “condemn the ruling, and its enforcement, of the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court on September 23, 2013, which ruled ineligible for citizenship any children born of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic.”
The ruling has rendered “such persons effectively stateless,” and leaves them unable to have any identity documents. The Dominican Republic has also started deporting some of them to Haiti.
The resolution commits the Episcopal Church to prayer for, and advocacy on behalf of, Dominicans of Haitian descent. Specifically, it asks the church’s “Office of Government Relations to communicate to the United States government, to the United Nations, and to our ecumenical and interreligious partners to protest this human rights issue.”
The resolution also provides an affirmation of support for Bishop Julio Holguin of the Dominican Republic and Bishop Zache Duracin of Haiti.
The two bishops spoke up to urge approval of the resolution.
Bishop Holguin said, “We have been participating with a variety of different organizations following up on the situation of immigrants who are denaturalized.”
He added: “We need your support so that this resolution can be made public. And we’d also like to ask your prayers because we are being targeted for our support of these brothers and sisters.”
Bishop Duracin asked for the Convention to intervene: “Now, I have heard that about 10,000 have been deported to Haiti already. And many of those people don’t even know Haiti … because they have been in the Dominican Republic for generations.”
They “are real Dominicans,” he said. “They have been deported because of the color of their skin.”
Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple of North Carolina was especially disturbed to learn that the ruling in the Dominican Republic has prevented some Dominicans of Haitian descent even from being baptized. In certain areas, identity documents must be provided before baptism.
The resolution passed unanimously and has been passed on to the House of Deputies for concurrence.