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Stateless in Santo Domingo

The Politics of Citizenship in the Dominican Republic

Haitians stand outside the Ministry of Interior and Police while waiting to register in the so-called "regularization" program in Santo Domingo, June 17, 2015. Ricardo Rojas / Reuters

In 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal decided to revoke the citizenship of Haitians who were born in the country but could not produce satisfactory documentation of their birth and residency under the new law. Soon thereafter, the government launched a campaign to naturalize those of Haitian descent who could provide documentation and deport those who couldn’t. When the program ended this past June, an unknown number of people (with conservative estimates stating at least 9,000) were left in a stateless limbo. To take care of the backlog, the Dominican government recently announced that it would extend its efforts into August, but President Danilo Medina is already moving forward with the deportation of those in question. In turn, there has been an international outcry over the court’s decision and the ensuing policies, which will remand many deportees to a country where they have never lived and do not speak

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