The Dominican Republic's planned deportation of potentially hundreds of thousands of Haitian immigrants and their descendants has sparked outrage and calls for a tourism boycott on social media.
The planned deportations stem from a 2013 court ruling that stripped hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans of their citizenships, dating back to 1929, if they could not prove they had at least one parent with "Dominican blood." At midnight tonight, the deadline for proving legal status in the country will expire.
As of yesterday, only about 300 people had been granted legal status, according to the Associated Press. To get ready for the deadline, the military has showcased a dozen hired trucks it says will be used to "repatriate" Haitian-Dominicans, some of whom have lived their entire lives in the DR.
Violence and confrontations with authorities have already erupted on the Dominican streets a few times, as Haitian immigrants and their descendants have found it near impossible to navigate the bureaucracy required to avoid deportation.
Meanwhile, tweets calling for a boycott against the Dominican Republic have been mounting by people who insist the planned deportations are overtly racist:
Tourism boycotts have been called on in the recent past. In 2013, after the initial court ruling, prominent Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat asked her supporters to boycott the country's tourism and export industries.
How important is tourism to the country? Yesterday as the world was getting furious at the planned deportations, President Danilo Medina was breaking ground on a new tourism project in the underdeveloped south of the country.
In Spain, where many Dominicans visit and live, some note, Dominicans are often subjected to racism themselves
The Nation reports that seven "concentration camps" have been set up on the border to hold Haitians until a "final evaluation" can be made on their status. That allusion to Naziism was picked up by some tweeters