EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 19, 2014

Cardinal O'Malley urges Dominicans to change citizenship policy

Decree seen as unfair to Haitians born in Dominican Republic

(Continued)

Domenech said the Center for Immigrant Studies has a list of 185 countries throughout the world which shows only 31 of them offers birthright citizenship. among them are El Salvador, Argentina, Azerbaijian and others in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa.

Without Dominican citizenship, Dominican born Haitians will not be able to vote, attend school, receive medical care.

“This is not just a paper, it’s their livelihood,” Domenech said.

Dominican immigration officials are giving Dominican born Haitians 18 months to register and apply for residency.

“It’s important for them not to be afraid and run. The naturalization process will allow them to get their citizenship and it’s important for them to take advantage of it,” Domenech said. “If they get the proper id and get naturalized, it will end problems for future generations.”

Johny Castillo addressed the decree on his radio show recently after seeing many posts on Facebook attacking Haitians. His goal in talking about the issue was to educate listeners.

“If I was able to educate at least one person, my time was worth it. They don’t understand that the decree hurts Dominicans who are children of Haitians who were contracted to work in the sugar cane fields and to do other jobs,” Castillo said.

“This is abusive, cruel and inhumane against Dominicans whose only offense, sin or mistake was to be chosen by God to be born in the Dominican Republic of Haitian parents.

“I wanted to offer them my support because they are afraid and there is a lot of misinformation out there,” Castillo said.

“I admire Haitians because they are hard workers and loyal. I support and defend them because they are my brothers they were born in the Dominican Republic,” Castillo said.

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