November 15, 2013

The Post’s Nov. 8 editorial “Shun thy neighbor” did not fully grasp the meaning of the recent ruling by the Dominican Constitutional Court on the status of Haitian migrants and their children in the Dominican Republic.

Migrants from a supposedly democratic country such as Haiti cannot be stateless, as the editorial asserted; they carry the nationality of their country of birth. Statelessness is also not an issue for the children of undocumented Haitian immigrants, given that Article 11 of the Haitian constitution establishes that “Any person born of a Haitian father or Haitian mother who are themselves native-born Haitians and have never renounced their nationality possesses Haitian nationality at the time of birth.”

The editorial asserted that the court decision “strips at least 200,000 ethnic Haitian migrants of any claim to citizenship, including those born on Dominican soil decades ago.” However, after inspecting some 60,000 birth registry books throughout the country, the electoral board in charge of the civil registry stated that the names of 24,392 people were inscribed without their having fulfilled the requisite conditions. Of these, just 13,672 are descendants of Haitian nationals.

The Dominican government is committed to a clear immigration policy that respects human rights and international pacts. It has enlisted the help of the United Nations to carry out the regularization of undocumented foreigners mandated by the court. Once their legal status is established, the road to citizenship is open.

Aníbal de Castro, Washington

The writer is the Dominican Republic’s ambassador to the United States.