Natives of the border: Ethnic Haitians and the law in the Dominican Republic, 1920-1961 /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Cadeau, Sabine, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (274 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Julie Saville Committee members: Dain Borges; Laurent Dubois; Stephan Palmie.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:Among the estimated twenty thousand ethnic Haitians who were killed by the Trujillo regime in 1937, experts estimate that a majority were actually born in Dominican territory and legally qualified as Dominican citizens according to the Dominican constitution. This dissertation is a study of changes in the legal status of Haitian-Dominicans and Haitian border residents in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1930-1961). It explores the legal transformations in border policy and the government's treatment of ethnic Haitians that began with the U.S. customs receivership in 1905, continued during the U.S. military occupation of 1916-1924, and that intensified with the rise of Trujillo in 1930. While many of the changes occurred gradually over a period of decades, the border went from being a relatively open boundary to a tightly regulated and militarized space, and ethnic Haitians who had previously been considered citizens and legal residents of Dominican territory were formally recast as foreigners subject to violence or summary arrest. In order to study the experiences of ethnic Haitians during the Trujillo regime, I employ court, police and military records, migration documents, oral sources and fictional texts. In contrast to scholarship that emphasizes a porous or open pre-1937 border, I argue that starting in the 1920s the Haitian-Dominican border was much more tightly regulated than historians have previously recognized. In addition to the deportation that some Haitian-Dominicans experienced and the immigration tax that some paid to remain in their homes, border residents of Haitian origin experienced police profiling and discrimination in the form of frequent arrests for contraband and illegal border crossing. In other words, anti-Haitianism did exist before the 1937 Massacre when considered in light of the arrests and deportations that ethnic Haitians faced in the border regions of the Dominican Republic. My work establishes that Dominican-born ethnic Haitians were declared foreigners and subjected to migration taxes and deportation as early as 1930. As with other genocides in the twentieth century, systematic campaigns of round-ups and deportations preceded and accompanied the killings in 1937. In addition, my work follows the treatment of ethnic Haitians and mixed Haitian-Dominican people following the massacre and I have uncovered a campaign of forced internal migration by which the army relocated ethnic Haitians from the border provinces to other areas of the Dominican Republic as part of the ongoing campaign to "Dominicanize" the border. While ethnic Haitian border residents have generally appeared in the historical record as nameless victims, I have collected rare but telling examples of ethnic Haitians' courtroom testimonies, which record their claims to native status and their objection to the Trujillo regime's early policy of denationalizing them and taxing them as foreigners. In addition, my work uncovers patterns of resistance by which massacre refugees illegally re-entered Dominican territory to steal or set up unauthorized farms. Finally, this dissertation contributes to broader literatures concerning race, ethnicity, migration, human rights and the black experience in Latin America and the Caribbean.