The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. (Image: Alex Proimos, CC BY 2.0)
Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Latin America: Week in Review

Non-Citizens Rush to File for Legal Status in the Dominican Republic

June 16, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — Long lines formed at Interior Ministry offices across the Dominican Republic Monday, as non-citizens scramble to secure their legal residency before a Wednesday paperwork deadline. Many applicants, the majority Haitians who have resettled in neighboring Dominican Republic, have been told they lack sufficient documentation and may become subject to deportation, according to the Associated Press.

In 2014 the Dominican Republic launched an initiative to regulate the flow of Haitian migrants, which included a measure that would grant non-citizens legal status if they could establish their identity and prove that they had resided in the country since before October 2011. An estimated 500,000 people living in the Dominican Republic fall under this category, but obstacles remain for those attempting to complete the necessary paperwork due to insufficient documentation and lack of birth certificates. Those who are unable to file the application before 7 p.m. on Wednesday could be subject to expedited deportation.

Those of Haitian descent have struggled with their legal status within the Dominican Republic for years. In 2013, the country was subject to international criticism after a Supreme Court ruling declared that those born to non-citizens did not qualify for citizenship, essentially leaving tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless, even though many had never left the country.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Monday marked the 3rd anniversary of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy in the United States, which more than 700,000 young immigrants have applied for since its launch in 2012.
  • Security ranked as top concern for Mexican voters during midterm elections this month, with the country losing as much as 3 percent of GDP a year due to crime and violence, according to a Financial Times report.


  • Jozef Wesolowski, the former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, will be tried at the Holy See next month for allegations of sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography during his time in the country.
  • Severe droughts have forced many Puerto Rican municipalities to start rationing water and implementing fines for water misuse.

Central America

  • The mayor of the Guatemalan town of Almolonga is facing potential prosecution after allegedly authorizing and officiating a marriage ceremony between a 12-year-old girl and a 23-year-old man.
  • Two North Korean citizens have been sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison in Panama for attempting to smuggle firearms through the Panama Canal in 2013.


  • At least 14 civilians and two policemen sustained injuries during a grenade attack in a shop in the Colombian port city of Buenaventura, local officials announced.

Southern Cone

  • Brazilian soccer player José Ely de Miranda, or Zito, who played during Brazil’s two first World Cup wins in 1958 and 1962, has died at the age of 82.
  • Brazil is currently a world leader in cybercrime and Internet fraud, according to a report by National Public Radio, which mentions that, “The list of scams coming out of Brazil would take too long to detail, but thousands of fraudulent charges from there hit three U.S. financial institutions” in recent months.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email