In 2013, the constitutional court of the Dominican Republic announced a decision that stripped an estimated 210,000 people — about 2 percent of the island nation’s population — of their citizenship overnight.
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that occupies roughly two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. The other half belongs to Haiti, and the two countries are divided by language, history, and race. That division has often been toughest on Dominicans who are of Haitian descent, which is the group of people who lost their citizenship in the ruling.
The government later softened the decision to allow people with birth certificates to “validate” their citizenship, and those without them to register as foreign migrants, the deadline for which was last night at midnight. But because the Dominican government has for decades systematically refused to grant birth certificates to people of Haitian descent, thousands were never able to obtain validation.
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