Stateless in the Dominican Republic – The New York Times

The Dominican government says it has identified roughly 55,000 people who have some sort of document to support their claims of Dominican birth. It received 8,755 applications from people who did not have any original documents. To qualify for citizenship, these people had to produce extensive documentation, including notarized letters, which human rights advocates say sets too high a bar. In an emailed statement to The Times, the State Department said it was “concerned that eligible individuals may not have had sufficient time and means” to get their citizenship claims evaluated before the government stopped accepting claims in February.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated in 2014 that the Dominican Republic was home to roughly 210,000 stateless people. Dominican officials argue, unconvincingly, that the number of people who applied for legal status suggests that such estimates are exaggerated. Preposterously, they contend that no one in the Dominican Republic meets the criteria of statelessness.

President Danilo Medina, who faces re-election next year, may be reluctant to take bold steps to regularize the status of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry since many Dominicans see Haitian immigrants and their children as burdens and do not consider them compatriots.

Yet it is imperative that Mr. Medina’s administration live up to its promise not to carry out mass deportations while the citizenship and immigration status of so many people remain uncertain. via – The New York Times.

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