USA TODAY, August 23, 2015
By Yamiche Alcindor
FOND BAYARD, Haiti – The children hunched over on a cement floor stare at flies on a dirty bed, living in squalor without books or toys, as refugees in this border town. They are unwanted by the Dominican Republic, their country of birth, and without a home in Haiti, their country of heritage.
Their Haitian parents claim the children, deported alongside adults, are citizens of the Dominican Republic – born and raised there – but they can’t prove it. The families have no birth certificates or naturalization papers. A local school, out for the summer, lets them sleep in their empty classrooms. They are uncertain how they will survive.
Francois Severin has lived among these stateless, homeless people at the school since June when he says he was deported with his pregnant wife and four children from their home in Neiba, Dominican Republic.
The family’s problems began with a 2013 the Dominican Supreme Court ruling that said people born in the country between 1929 and 2010 to non-citizen parents did not qualify as Dominican citizens. While the government said it would give long-term residents a path to citizenship, the decision effectively stripped tens of thousands of people of their nationality retroactively and prompted human rights activists to accuse the government of making people stateless.