Dominican Republic Immigration and Documentation Policies Key Points and FAQ
The Dominican Republic, under President Danilo Medina, has launched the most ambitious initiative in the history of the country with respect to the documentation and normalization of the entire population living in the country.
To achieve this, two mechanisms have been established: Special Law 169-14, for both people born in Dominican Republic and children of foreign parents with an irregular status, and the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners.
The result of these two initiatives has been that 364,965 people on the margins of the law are now living within a legal framework and have their legal rights guaranteed.
If we consider the National Immigrant Survey ONE conducted by the European Union in 2012, we have gone from a country with 20% of migrants with a regularized status to over 75% of migrants with a regularized status.
What is the National Regularization Plan?
The National Regularization Plan is a special initiative, promoted by the Ministry of Interior and Police, designed to correct the immigration status of people who are in the country illegally, i.e. without proper documentation.
The plan was executed over the course of 18 months, which once completed, conferred to applicants a migratory status that corresponds to their condition.
What results have been achieved by the National Regularization Plan?
This process has allowed us to register hundreds of thousands of people living outside the legal system and make decisions based on the facts of their individual situation. We now have reliable data on each registered individual, as well as their status. This is a great step for the administrative system and the rigorous identification of the entire population.
Fuente: Listín Diario.
What is Special Law 169-14?
Special Law 169-14 is a policy that orders a census of the country and provides proper documentation to populations that were vulnerable. This law establishes two groups of beneficiaries who are called A and B, according to their documentary status.
Group A consists of people born in the Dominican Republic and children of undocumented foreign parents. These individuals posses some kind of document issued by the Dominican Republic certifying them as nationals.
Group B is made up of children of foreign parents born in irregular immigration status in the Dominican Republic who do not have any documentation.
What has been achieved with the implementation of Law 169-14?
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has identified about 55,000 persons belonging to Group A. For all of them, their status is resolved through the recognition of these documents and their subsequent status of Dominican citizenship.
Also, more than 8,755 requests from people belonging to Group B, which are being processed for registration in the Book of Foreign Nationals, with the possibility of access to the naturalization process within two years were received.
What measures were put in place to ensure the safety of the processes?
To ensure the integrity of the process and the rights of all populations, the initiative has banned, by presidential decree, the deportation of foreigners who have registered their status, provided that their application is being processed and corresponds to the record that was delivered to the plan’s offices.
IMPACT OF DOCUMENTATION AND ADJUSTMENT POLICIES MADE BY THE DOMINICAN GOVERNMENT FROM 2013 TO PRESENT
The Dominican Republic is fulfilling its obligations with the utmost respect for international laws and practices. As our president has stated, all members of the international community are welcome in our country.
Significant resources have been allocated by the Government to enhance infrastructure and improve the registration process, educate citizens on the requirements that must be met and train immigration and border officials.
The Government is working closely with civil society organizations and other NGO’s to increase their understanding and awareness of these policies. These include UNICEF, UNDP and IOM.
Now is the time for the international community to help the Haitian Government and those Haitian people who are in need, and make proper assistance available to those who have voluntarily returned to Haiti from the Dominican Republic.
Safeguarding and respecting human rights is at the center of the Dominican Republic’s immigration and documentation policies.
As an example of this commitment, the Dominican Republic will soon issue the first human rights plan in the country’s history.
The Dominican Republic is the only Caribbean country to have a human rights plan under the Vienna Convention on Human Rights. Our human rights plan aims to significantly increase the protection and promotion of human rights in our country while providing equal rights and equal opportunity for everyone.
The comprehensive action plan addresses discrimination, gender equality, civil rights and labor rights and also contains specific language dedicated to protecting the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, such as women, LGBT individuals, the elderly, people with disabilities, migrants, and victims of human trafficking.
Facts About the Dominican Republic’s Deportation and Immigration Policies
No person born in the Dominican Republic will be expelled from our territory. Each case will be individually looked at to determine their status and further steps. For each category there is a procedure that will be followed.
The Dominican Republic’s citizenship policies adhere to international norms. The vast majority of countries do not offer citizenship to everyone born in their territory. The Dominican Republic’s policies are similar to European nations and its neighbors in the Caribbean. The United States and Canada are unique among developed countries in granting birthright citizenship. However, the Dominican Republic is unique in its citizenship policies in one very important aspect: it is implementing a policy to document the status of everyone within its borders to bring those with irregular status out of the shadows and into the legal system. This gives rights to those who do not have them, which other countries with a large number of undocumented immigrants have aspired to accomplish.
Unaccompanied minors will never be subject of deportation.
Tens of thousands of IDs and visa stamps have been collected in the past few weeks. Thousands are still waiting to be collected. Those who have not yet come forward will be protected against deportations due to the fact that their biometric data was collected at the time of application and it will be easy to identify them if they were to come in contact with immigration authorities.
No specific enhancements in capabilities or resources have been added to the immigration service of the Dominican Republic following the Regularization Plan.
Intelligence gathered during the initial phase of the Regularization Plan has given authorities time to cross-reference criminal records, narcotics databases and previous immigration offenses records to approximately locate individuals of interest for the purpose of investigation and possible deportation.
No security force member is allowed to stop and search individuals in public spaces without the presence of an immigration official during an authorized operation.
The Government has not and will not set a target number of migrants of interest for the purpose of investigating their status in the Dominican Republic, much less for their removal. At no time will indiscriminate and collective deportations be made. This has not happened in the decades of the nation’s democratic life and, of course, will not happen in the future.
Even when the Regularization Plan expired, the law prescribes mechanisms for irregular migrants in the Dominican Republic to obtain legal status and these mechanisms can be used today.
Since August 2004, Law 285-04 (Immigration Law) called the Government to set up a plan for regularizing migrants who were irregularly living in our territory. The plan was established in November 2013 and ran for 18 months (until June 2015), during which period, and in order for migrants to feel secure about approaching authorities, deportations were not authorized. Only those migrants caught crossing the border or trying to enter our territory unlawfully via a port of entry were returned immediately (these returns should not be confused with deportations).
There is a return policy for those unlawfully entering the Dominican Republic. Dominican law establishes that those who have not entered the country lawfully, or have done so but violated the terms of their stay, are subject to an administrative process that could result in these people returning to their country of origin, either voluntarily or against their will.
Since June 17, the Government has provided undocumented immigrants facilities for voluntary return, through the Directorate General of Immigration. As part of this program, facilities are available for anyone who wishes to leave the territory voluntarily and in doing so they will not incur administrative sanctions that would hinder their reentry, provided that they possess proper documentation.