Local January 4, 2016 | 11:15 am

Only 50% of Haitians met DR residency requirements

SantoDomingo.- A report by the Associated Press carried by national and international media focuses on the progress of theDominican Republic’s Foreigner Regularization Plan. It includes interviews withseveral Haitians who have benefited and others who have not. A fruit vendortells the reporter that he can now travel back to Haiti for the holidays to visit relativeswithout any fear of not being allowed back into the Dominican Republic.

“[He]is one of about 184,000 people, mostly of Haitian descent, who were able tosecure legal Dominican residency papers this year under an initiative that hasbeen fraught with controversy and heartache.” He is one of the lucky ones,according to the article.

Thereport also points out that “[a] much larger group, estimated at more than300,000, faces a more uncertain future. These are people who either didn’t meetcriteria to gain formal residency or couldn’t get the necessary paperwork suchas a Haitian birth certificate or documents proving they had been in theDominican Republic since before October 2011.”

Itquotes an Amnesty International researcher who expresses concern about the fateof those born in this nation of about 10 million people but lack residency. "Thesepeople are still in an undocumented situation; they do not have any type ofnationality," says the human rights worker.

Thereport also features the case of a Haitian-born woman who moved to the DominicanRepublic as a child, but has been unable to obtain the necessary documentation fromthe Haitian government for herself and four of her five children.

Thereport quotes the Dominican government as saying that about 288,000 peopleapplied for residency, of whom 239,000 submitted the correct documentation. The government issued renewablepermits to 184,000 people and says an additional 55,000 will receive them inthe coming weeks.

"Youcan see the success of the plan in the number of people who benefited fromit," Deputy Interior Minister Washington Gonzalez said. "Our interestis that everyone complies with the requirements and picks up their permits assoon as possible."

Thereport goes on to say that "an estimated 70,000 undocumented Haitians have leftthe Dominican Republic on their own initiative, with an estimated 3,000 stayingin ramshackle encampments just over the Haitian side of the border. At least5,000 have been deported but so far there have been no mass roundups."

Itconcluded by mentioning that the system will soon be tested, as every January,the Dominican Republic deploys extra troops at the border to stop migrants asthey return from Christmas holidays.

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