In 2013, the courts ruled that only people born in the Dominican Republic, and who were descendents of Dominican parents/ legal residents would be considered legal citizens. This ruling stripped thousands of Dominican born Haitians of their nationality. Throughout the day we were able to see the effects first hand from different perspectives. Today, June 18th, was Immigration Day. After breakfast we took a bus to Elias Pina, a small city near the Haitian/Dominican border. There, we visited a museum and explored the similarities and differences between the Haitian and Dominican cultures such as religion, music, agriculture, and lifestyle. After the museum, we traveled to “no man’s land,” a small area of land between the Haitian and Dominican border. There we saw how Dominican guards picked and chose who could and could not enter the country. After seeing the border we returned to Elias Pina and explored the famous open border market, which was very chaotic. Many of the items sold by the Haitian people were American donated goods that did not fit their needs. Before eating lunch, we met with Haitian students living in the DR and were able to ask about the benefits and struggles they faced. Then, after lunch, we drove to the hotel with a bunch of sleepy children. Once there, we discussed what we learned the Suarez community would like to have as our Community Action Project (CAP); they would like us to build seating for their baseball stadium and repaint their back stop so it will match the energy of the community. After the CAP meeting, we went to prep for our third session of English tutoring. After successful lessons we had dinner at Rosaura’s and returned to the hotel to reflect on the day.


At the reflection we were able to compare and contrast the Haitian/Dominican border to our Mexican/U.S. border. At both, racial profiling is the main determinant for military personal at the border. Many Haitians were stopped or turned around because of their physical features. Though the open border market is encouraged, the tension between both is still very prevalent. We have seen this tension both at the border and in San Juan throughout our trip. Both the Dominican Republic and the United States of America are experiencing similar political and social problems about people crossing the border and coming into our country. Like some Americans, many Dominicans dislike immigrants and see them as a threat, rather than an addition to society. The bad blood between both countries has blinded many of the citizens and as a result many Dominican and Haitian communities struggle to live in harmony.