Above: Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Dominican Republic has passed long-awaited legislation addressing the country’s controversial citizenship ruling from last year.
Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina issued Law 169-14, which establishes special rules for people born in the country that were “irregularly registered” in the Dominican Civil Registry. Medina made the proclamation after the law had been passed by both houses of government.
Last September, the country’s Constitutional Court rendered a judgment that effectively stripped the citizenship of as many as hundreds of thousands of Dominicans born to Haitian parents who were at the time considered to be ” in transit” in he country.
The Dominican Republic’s government said the new bill had a special scheme addressing the children of foreign mothers and fathers that were not resident in the country and who were born from 1929 to 2007.
Medina said the new law would mean that people who were born into this category could opt for ordinary naturalization two years after they had met one of a series of criteria established in the country’s General Law of Migration, so long as they did not have a criminal record.
Last year’s ruling led to widespread condemnation from the country’s regional neighbours and strained ties with Haiti, although the two countries have been holding talks with some regularity in the interim.
CARICOM also chose to suspend the Dominican Republic’s bid for membership; it’s not currently clear when or whether that will change.