Congress passes naturalization bill
On Wednesday, 21 May 2014, a quorum of 26 of 32 senators voted in favor of the naturalization bill. The bill that was drafted by the Executive Branch had already passed in the Chamber of Deputies without changes.
“The bill creates a streamlined path to citizenship for undocumented individuals born in the Dominican Republic. Through this historic legislation, President Danilo Medina fulfilled his commitment to finding a just and equitable solution for undocumented persons, while giving clarity to an outdated system and respecting the separation of powers,” said Anibal de Castro, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United States. “The bill’s swift passage underscores the Dominican people’s overwhelming support for an inclusive policy that will help move the country forward and benefit the whole island of Hispaniola.”
It now moves to the Presidency for signing and will become law when it is published.
In a press release, the Embassy explains that for many decades, the Dominican Republic experienced significant gaps in registration, documentation and identification of residents and foreigners. The law validates the status and documentation of people currently in possession of irregular or invalid documentation as Dominican citizens. In addition, the bill provides undocumented individuals born in the Dominican Republic to foreign parents a clear path to obtaining legal permanent residency, and potential citizenship.
A recent public opinion poll indicated that 72% of the Dominican population supported the bill.
The legislation addresses two groups: people who born and grew up in the Dominican Republic with irregular birth certificates due to their parents’ lack of immigration status, and those born and living in the Dominican Republic to foreign parents without a valid residence permit who do not have any form of documentation.
Individuals officially registered as Dominicans, regardless of their parents’ irregular status, will have their documents legalized and will enjoy all the benefits of Dominican citizenship. This action will allow for a fast, fair and final end to any uncertainty surrounding their situation.
Undocumented individuals who are able to prove that they were born in the Dominican Republic will have the opportunity over a 90-day period to register for a regular immigration status. This group of people will now be able to enter the naturalization process and apply for citizenship after two years of regular residency status.
After extensive consultations with diverse sectors of Dominican society, as well as with the international community, including the UN, the EU and CARICOM and Haiti, the bill takes into account the contributions of the stakeholders to ensure that this policy fairly addresses all residents of the Dominican Republic.
“The text of the legislation was forged through an extended process of consultations, with broad consensus-building during the draft stage,” said Ambassador de Castro. “The Dominican Republic is grateful for the international community’s continued support as we proactively address the complexities of developing and implementing a modern migration policy.”
The Central Electoral Board (JCE), the body responsible for the Civil Registry of the Dominican Republic, will oversee an information campaign to ensure that everyone living in the country is aware of the new policies.
The proposed legislation can be read in English at http://domrep.org/documents/SpecialRegimeDraftBill-English.pdf
See the Spanish version at http://domrep.org/documents/SpecialRegimeDraftBill-Spanish.pdf
Category: DR News |