In 2014, President Danilo Medina’s administration attempted to mitigate the high court ruling with a Naturalization Law aimed at recognizing the citizenship claims of those affected by the 2013 decision. Despite a promising legal framework, the law has been fraught with design and implementation flaws that have thwarted the naturalization process. Tens of thousands of Dominicans like Rosanna were unable to benefit from the law, and are now vulnerable to expulsion.
To further complicate matters, since 2014, the government has also implemented a “regularization” plan for Haitian migrants. In contrast to Dominicans of Haitian descent like Rosanna, migrants like her parents were born in Haiti and moved to the Dominican Republic – often to work for the Dominican government or for Dominican companies. Many migrants, however, did so without proper documentation. Over the past year, the government offered these individuals an opportunity to “regularize” their migratory status in the country. Like the Naturalization Law, the regularization process, while well intentioned, was rife with design and implementation failures and many who should be eligible weren’t able to apply.
Despite the limitations of both laws, the Dominican government has been unclear on who will be affected by today’s deadline for deportations. According to local sources, only Haitian migrants who were unable to regularize are at risk. Many, however, fear that Dominicans of Haitian descent will also be rounded up in a process that seems to focus more on how people look than on where they were born. The Dominican press reports that the president will likely speak on the issue this evening. via | Human Rights Watch