Local March 11, 2013 | 9:41 am

Foreign Minister follows U.S. immigration debate closely

Santo Domingo.- Foreign minister Carlos Morales revealed Sunday that he follows closely both the debate and legislative proposals to reform the U.S. immigration system, because in his view it’s an issue of vital importance to the country.

He said a recent report by the prestigious Pew Center for Hispanic Studies revealed that of the 1.5 million people who identify themselves as Dominican in the U.S. 2010 census, nearly 900,000 said they were born in their country.

Morales said although the figures are unclear as to the number of undocumented Dominicans in the U.S., it’s sure to total several tens of thousands. "It’s natural that such an important event awakens our interest, but with the understanding that this is an internal decision of the United States."

"We have instructed our embassy in Washington to follow closely all the debate and keep us informed," he said, and announced that, the launch “very soon,” of a coordinated offensive in the consulates and the Dominican Embassy to contact NGOs linked to immigrants and exchange views.

He said the effort will also involve spurring Dominican-Americans to take an active role in the debate and write to their congressmen. "This is the time for our fellow citizens who hold U.S. citizenship also be mobilized in favor of reform and stop hearing a loud voice."

The official said most Dominicans living in the United States are concentrated in New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida, as well as in Puerto Rico.

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