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Embassy of the Dominican Republic

Tel: 202-332-6280
Fax: 202-265-8057

Conclusion of the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners in the Dominican Republic

As planned, the regularization process for foreigners in an irregular migratory status residing in the Dominican Republic concluded on June 17, 2015, and as stated by President Danilo Medina, the process had been implemented for the last 18 months and the deadline will not be extended. In this regard, it is important to note that the Plan for regularization and Special Law 169-14 have rendered positive results: so far, a total of more than 340,000 individuals will enter the Dominican civil registry, which includes those registered under the Regularization Plan and persons referred as Group A and Group B.

The Regularization Plan is the first census conducted in the Dominican Republic to determine the correct number of foreigners residing in the country, and to date, more than 288,000 individuals submitted their applications. Most of these foreigners, approximately 93%, possess birth-certificate, passport and/ or IDs from their country of origin. The majority of those who did not present themselves for registration already enjoy legal status; many of these are students enrolled in public and private Dominican universities and others, employees from the tourism, construction and agriculture sector. The implementation process has throughout received unanimous support from the International Organization of Migration (IOM), and jointly with the Centro Bono, a leading advocate of human rights in the Dominican Republic, has publicly praised its implementation by the Dominican Government.

This group of individuals lived their everyday in the Dominican Republic under a threat of possible deportation, but now they would possess a Government issued ID (see attached), that grants two years of legal residence. This allotted period of time provides applicants with an opportunity to complete their pending process, which consists of submitting the required records, in order to lawfully attain permanent residence in the Dominican Republic.

The Regularization Plan also provided another occasion for the individuals who were born in the country, that missed the extended deadline of February 1, 2015, to adhere to the Special Law 169-14, which granted expedited citizenship to those who can provide records that prove their birthplace in Dominican Republic, or that one parent was legally residing in the country during declaration of birth. Drafted by the Dominican Presidency and approved by Congress, Law 169-14 sought to provide a humanitarian solution to those affected by the September 23, 2013, ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, concerning the status of those foreigners already enrolled in the civil registry. The Special Law had automatically rectified the status of nearly 53,000 that belonged in the civil registry and also their children born in the country, like the case of Juliana Deguis Pierre and her family.

The Dominican Government will spend $ 30 million dollars during this regularization process, by guaranteeing accessibility via its 24 registration centers across the different provinces, and representing a zero cost for applicants. These resources are invested in educational and marketing campaigns nationwide, and for the employees that operated the registration centers, as well as the three mobile units that served those areas where it was not possible to establish a permanent office.

The international community, a keen observer of the entire process, should be mindful of the efforts of the Dominican Government to address its migration issue. President Medina has assured - and has kept his promise- that no deportations would take place as a result of the Constitutional Tribunal ruling, with an utmost respect for human and civil rights.

Since November 2013, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are engaged in a historic dialogue that has produced a series of binding agreements and joint communiqués on matters beyond the immigration issue. The high level meetings between the Heads of State and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs include discussions of national interest, such as security, the environment, tourism, customs and investments. The meeting on March 15, 2015, revealed important commitments from the Haitian Government, to provide the documents that are required by their nationals that live in Dominican Republic in order to comply with the application to the regularization plan.

More recently, the representatives of the private sector from both countries have embarked in a development project along the border, from the northern point to the south coast, to create a platform for investment to generate employment and improve standards of living for all the surrounding communities. For instance, the CODEVI project in the Haitian town of Ouanaminthe currently employs more than 7,500 individuals in manufacturing facilities that benefit from the Hope/Help Act.

Both Haiti and the Dominican Republic share an island which population continues to grow over 21 million habitants. Bilateral trade between the two nations reaches levels of $ 1.8 billion dollars, with a great potential for growth. It is important to note, Haitian nationals and foreigners of Haitian descent that are employed in the country, send back $ 500 million dollars of remittances a year to Haiti, an amount that represents more than 5% of the Haitian economy’s Gross Domestic Product.

Lastly, both Governments continue the work closely to overcome any political strife. The efforts by the Haitian Government to provide key documentation for their nationals residing in Dominican territory are vital for the bilateral agenda. However, the dialogue and the positive work carried out, to seek a sustainable solution for the benefit of their people, demonstrates the countries’ objectives to shape a future together, despite the different economic scenarios on both side of the border.