Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Incentive Removed: Haitian Anchor Babies Dropped in Dominican Republic No Longer Automatic Right


Dominican-Born Haitians Blast Santo Domingo’s Naturalization Plan

SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican-born children of undocumented immigrants from Haiti complained Tuesday that thousands of them will remain stateless in this country after the passing last week of the deadline to apply for naturalization.

At a press conference, the Dominicans for Rights organization said that of some 53,000 potential beneficiaries of the naturalization law, just 8,755 were able to file their documents in time.

The organization condemned the “absence of political will among the state branches in complying with the national commitment” with international courts to regularize the status of these people as Dominicans.

The naturalization law was approved in accord with a commitment given by the Dominican government to international organizations as a result of a ruling issued in September 2013 by the Constitutional Court.

According to the spokesperson for Dominicans for Rights, Ana Maria Belique, the Interior and Police Ministry has not provided the people in question with “any document that ... provides them with information about their legal status” in Dominican territory.

In addition, she said that, so far, from among a sample of 2,650 cases, “none has received a response” from the ministry.

“It is not known how many requests have been referred by the Interior and Police Ministry to the Central Electoral Board nor what has been the fate of and the attention that this institution has given to same,” she emphasized.

At the press conference, Belique said that “due to the poor results,” the process of implementing the naturalization law “has been a failure.”

According to the complaint, the process “has been blocked by administrative and political obstacles, including the 100 percent increase in the fee for legalization services.”

Belique urged the authorities to find “a Dominican and reasonable solution to the problem of civil registry,” at the same time that she warned that her organization will resort to all national and international courts “until civil recognition and domestic social inclusion of all Dominicans and Dominicans of foreign origin is achieved.”

In the past, the Dominican government cited unofficial estimates of around 1 million Haitians living in the country, most of them illegal immigrants working in agriculture and construction.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion.

Though both countries are poor, Haiti is destitute, and Haitians cross the border to do work that many Dominicans will not do, such as harvesting sugarcane.

Haitians have been the target of mob violence in recent years and the Dominican government has been widely criticized for its treatment of the migrants.


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