Dominican Republic court ruling to revoke Haitians’ citizenship decried

By Ed Wilkinson
Catholic News Service

BROOLYN, N.Y. (CNS) — A Dominican Republic court decision rescinding the citizenship of Haitians born in that country "has caused a moral and civil outcry against this seemingly unjust law," Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said at a special Mass.

"We come tonight, not to enter into a political discussion, but to support the human dignity of our Haitian brothers and sisters who find themselves in this predicament of being deported to Haiti where the economic and social conditions are a tremendous burden," he said at an evening Mass June 24.

The Mass was celebrated at St. James Cathedral-Basilica in downtown Brooklyn to pray for a resolution to the threat to deport Haitians from the Dominican Republic.

That country’s Supreme Court recently rescinded a 1929 law that gave citizenship to all Haitians born in the Dominican Republic. It declared that from now on Dominican citizenship will require being born of two native-born Dominican parents.

"We are two communities but in Brooklyn we come together as one," Bishop DiMarzio told the congregation, which numbered about 700.

Among the concelebrants was retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy A. Sansaricq, the first native Haitian ordained a bishop in the United States.

"In our Prayer of the Faithful tonight we will pray for peace and justice in the Dominican Republic and Haiti and in our own country," said Bishop DiMarzio.

"Wherever Haitians are suffering, the whole community in New York or in the country, the diaspora, the Haitian diaspora is suffering," said Father St. Charles Borno, coordinator of the ministry to Haitians in the Diocese of Brooklyn. "It’s part of who we are. And whenever one person is suffering, the whole community is suffering.

"And the reason we gather this evening, to truly show that we are with our brothers in Dominican Republic and we are suffering with them and we want to support them and give whatever support we can give."

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