BuzzFeed News on the Dominican Republic, the US, and Citizenship

BuzzFeed reporter Emily Tamkin interviewed Michele Wucker and quoted her in Trump Wants To Cancel Birthright Citizenship. The US Has Already Helped One Country Do That, a November 12, 2018 article about the Dominican Republic’s stripping of citizenship to Dominicans of Haitian descent.

Donald Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship by executive order was immediately denounced by legal scholars as an illegal intrusion on the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. But the United States knows something about ending birthright citizenship because it played an active role in helping another country bring it to a close — the Dominican Republic.

That role, which was unfolding before Trump became president, has long been the subject of criticism — from the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Trump’s criticism of birthright citizenship and call for a wall on the US–Mexico border have renewed concerns that the US is inflaming the Dominican Republic’s already hostile xenophobic attitudes toward its Haitian minority.

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“US human rights organizations were very vocal against the court ruling in 2013, and were very vocal in documenting some of the problems, particularly as it came into force in 2015,” Michele Wucker, author of Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola, said.

Read the whole article on Buzzfeed.

CFR.org on Dominican Republic Expulsions

Sam Koebrich from cfr.org recently interviewed me about the expulsions to Haiti by the Dominican Republic of Dominicans Why the Cocks Fightof Haitian descent and recent migrants. “Deportations in the Dominican Republic,” August 13, 2015. Several people have noted that my approach to the issues avoid hyperbole and focus on constructive suggestions.

Acento republished the interview in Spanish in the Dominican Republic, prompting a series of tweets and posts to my public Facebook page from Dominicans who refuse to accept any criticism. At least one was outraged by the supposed international plot for “fusion” of the two countries sharing the island of Hispaniola -you know, the same plot that exists only in the mind of Dominican ultra-nationalists. But I don’t mind. They at least spelled my name right.

NPR on Dominican Republic Expulsions

In the latest chapter in a long and complicated history of tensions with neighboring Haiti, the Dominican Republic is poised to deport recent Haitian migrants and expel Dominicans of Haitian descent who have not been able to prove that they were born there. This week, the deadline to apply for “regularization” passed, with many people saying they applied but have not been given proof, and many others having been rejected or having been unable to get past bureaucratic chaos.

National Public Radio’s Audie Cornish interviewed me June 17th, 2015, on All Things Considered about the history of tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the subject of my first book, WHY THE COCKS FIGHT: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola. You can listen to the interview and read the transcript HERE.

For additional information about the history of the two countries and current efforts by Dominicans and Haitians to overcome the past, please visit www.borderoflights.org.

I highly recommend Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, a novel about the 1937 massacre, and Julia Alvarez’s A Wedding in Haiti, a contemporary and nuanced account of relationships among Dominicans and Haitians.

 

 

Recent Immigration work

One of the best things about joining The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has been the chance to return to immigration public policy debates. It was an honor to speak about immigration and business Monday, March 9th,  in honor of International Women’s Day at the Union League Club of Chicago with a fantastic panel including Mary Meg McCarthy of the Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center, Crate & Barrel founder Carole Segal of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Maria Socorro Pesqueira of Mujeres Latinas en Accion, and Moderator Alison Cuddy of the Chicago Humanities Festival. For more information about the event click HERE.

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Here also are links to a few recent media appearances: “Obama’s Immigration Plan Gives Ohio Businesses a Taste of Reform,” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer November 25, 2014; Executive Action Is Here -Time for a New “Start” on Legislative Reform on the Chicago Council’s Running Numbers blog, November 21, 2014; an interview “Immigration Reform” on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight November 20, 2014, and a radio interview on “Could Executive Action Clear the Way for Comprehensive Immigration Reform?” on WDCB-FM November 14, 2014

Elected to Serve Far Away -Wall Street Journal

Three Dominicans living in New Jersey were elected recently to national legislative positions in the Dominican Republic, created precisely so that the country’s diaspora will be represented

Sumathi Reddy writes about this phenomonenon in the July 31 Wall Street Journal article, “Elected to Serve Far Away,” in which she quotes me about the significance of diaspora elected officials: “Michele Wucker, president of the World Policy Institute, said countries ‘have been reaching out to diaspora, increasingly offering them seats in Congress…, recognizing their remittances, their technical skills and their international networks are all important assets.’ ” More than a dozen countries have created similar positions, mostly over the past several years.

Those of you who have read my first book, Why the Cocks Fight, may recall the profile of a Dominican living in Washington Heights who ran for the equivalent of a seat in Congress from his home province in the Dominican Republic, but pledged to represent the more than one million Dominicans estimated to have been living in the United States and Canada at the time. More than a decade later, the country will finally be giving formal representation to these “dominicanos ausentes.”

BNN Canada interview at Toronto Forum

BNN (Canada) SqueezePlay Future of Cities – Immigration Matters [11-22-10 5:40 PM]

In Canada for the Toronto Forum for Global Cities, Michele Wucker, President of the World Policy Institute, discusses the importance of having an effective immigration strategy to compete effectively for the highly skilled workers that keep the economy driving forward. To view the BNN video follow this link.

Arizona Republic on Counterproductive Rhetoric

Calls to ‘secure border first’ undermine reform

by Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
June 20, 2010

Amid a growing national angst about illegal immigration, Americans keep hearing a chorus: Secure the border first. Then talk about immigration reform….

……..Michele Wucker, executive director of the World Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said border incursions happen wherever two countries have unequal economies or black-market trade.

Wucker, author of “Lockout: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong,” said those who demand a sort of iron curtain prior to policy change are obstructionists: “It means don’t ever come up with a workable system.”

Arizona has the most to gain from a new policy paradigm, Wucker argued, because the status quo made the state a thoroughfare for smuggling. Yet the state’s political leaders, caught up in a wave of public opinion, no longer press for reform.

“When I see John McCain saying, ‘Build the dang fence,’ I’m very sad,” Wucker said. “Arizona would benefit more than any other state from immigration reform at a national level. They’re really cutting off their nose to spite their face.”

PublicAgenda.org -Immigration Reform and Climate Change

Immigration Reform & Climate Change: Two Hot-Button Issues Intersect cross posted at www.publicagenda.org and the World Policy Blog

In the days following the earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince and killed over 200,000 people, the United States granted temporary protected status (TPS) to those undocumented immigrants from Haiti who were living in the United States prior to the date of the quake. It was the right thing to do after such an “act of God.” Yet, it stood in stark contrast to the failure of the United States to use its migration policy to help Haitians in 2008, when the island was struck by a series of natural disasters that were arguably man-made—a series of storms made increasingly more frequent and violent by rising sea levels and temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted March 19, 2010. For the full article visit the links above.