Caring in the Midst Exclusion/Inclusion: Care Provision and Survival Among Haitian Migrant Domestic Workers in the DR

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Masaya LLAVANERAS BLANCO, Wilfrid Laurier University - Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada
Since 2007 laws and regulations that govern citizenship and nationality in the Dominican Republic (DR) have gone through an intense period of transformation. These recent changes are part of a historical process of inclusion/exclusion (de Genova, 2013) in which migrants are known to live and partake in Dominican society in ways that are conditioned by the constant interrogation of their legal status in the country. As a result, Haitian migrants and their Dominican-born descendants find themselves often formally or informally excluded from social, economic, and political rights that among others, limit their access to health, education, and social policy. Based on recent fieldwork in the Dominican Republic, I argue that migrant Haitian women and women of Haitian descent find themselves at the centre of the process of exclusion/inclusion. First, in the past, Haitian women were more likely to enter the DR with insufficient documentation due to the DR's specific pursuance of male Haitian agricultural labourers. Second, Dominican law requires mothers to be the ones who register their children's birth, which often leads to passing the condition of legal liminality from one generation to the next. Third, limited access to social services of migrant women and their descendants increases their reliance on women's unpaid social reproductive labour and informal care arrangements. In this context, I argue that state-led inclusion/exclusion is central to a de facto informal security regime that relies in important ways on the unpaid and paid care labour of women who are structurally at risk due to the intersections of their citizenship status, gender, race, and class.