A series of legal developments eliminating the concept of birthright citizenship coupled with a 2013 decision by the Constitutional Court retroactively stripping hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of their statehood has sparked international outrage.
Dominican officials have since defended their efforts to codify citizenship standards that exclude those born in the country to undocumented parents, most of whom are of Haitian decent.
Bureaucratic inefficiency has proven to be a major barrier to those seeking to naturalize their citizenship, as nearly 200,000 have been left in legal limbo.
However, Dominican officials claim Dominican-born nationals who have had their citizenship revoked are not in fact stateless if they have claims to Haitian heritage — citing the Haitian constitutional provision allowing them to apply for citizenship based on their ancestry. Officials also refute the number of its citizens actually affected by the policy — reporting figures far less than those noted in the international press.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Dominican Republic’s ambassador to the United States, Aníbal de Castro, claims, “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.”