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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    Migration

    A country of migrants

    Its strategic location in the Caribbean islands has made the Dominican Republic a point of departure and arrival throughout its history. Indigenous populations arriving from the continent that would be called America settled on the island later known as Hispaniola and, upon the Discovery, the Spanish conquistadors began the migration that would forever mark the ethnic profile of the territory. With the Spanish settlement, the conditions were set for the massive transfer of an African slave population to the island.

    Mapa Caribe

    The Dominican-born population of Spaniards and Africans - the decimated indigenous people left an ethnic heritage barely identifiable by the scientific resources of the 20th century - gave origin to the Dominican mulatto. The mixing of races and nationalities, however, has never been detained.

    Neighboring Haiti forever transformed the border that separates the countries into a point of departure, return and permanency. In the period from the second half of the 19th century to the end of the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1961), important immigration influxes have taken place. This period contains two fundamental currents of immigration: the arrival of the laborers of the Antilles and later of the businessmen, peasants, traders and political refugees from neighboring islands and Europe.

    The massive immigration of Antillean laborers was motivated by the need for a cheap work force for carrying out public works and cutting the sugar cane of the foreign capital sugar industry that blossomed in the last third of the 19th century. It is precisely during the first U.S. occupation, between 1915 and 1925, that the largest number of imported laborers lived in the country.

    First, those from the Minor Antilles (English) predominated, especially around the turn of the century; but later, above all since the second quarter of the 20th century, Haitians have constituted the majority. They are not only located around the large sugar refineries (La Romana, San Pedro de Macorís, Barahona, etc.), but they also gradually settled on the Dominican side of the border.

    The group of businessmen, farmers, traders and political refugees is less numerous than the former. These immigrants made significant economic, social and cultural contributions to the country. At first, the current was composed of political refugees and businessmen pushed out by the independence processes of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Then, the Spanish Civil War and the outbreak of World War II attracted Spaniards, Italians and Germans (especially those of Jewish descent).

    Trujillo's agricultural colonization plan along the border should be mentioned. Instead of counteracting the presence and assimilation of Haitians into the area and guaranteeing them sufficient nutrition, Trujillo unfolded a campaign to attract Europeans, Syria-Lebanese and even Japanese in exchange for land for cultivation.

    Since the fall of the dictator, the migration flows have swelled. The immigration processes have increased and accelerated. Today, it is evident that the largest foreign colony is Haitian, but there is also a growing dynamic for the entrance of other foreigners from Europe, due to the expansion of tourism.

    Haitian Immigration

    Current Estimates (2005)

    Haitian Immigrants
    Haitians born in the DR
    500,000 aprox.
    500,000 aprox.
    Mapa Haiti

    Organizations that study immigration estimate that more than 500,000 Haitian immigrants live in the Dominican Republic, while approximately another 500,000 born in Dominican territory have Haitian parents. It is an extremely poor immigration, as the large majority has little or no schooling and is composed of a large number of people that cannot provide a document of identity from their country of origin. Due to this difficulty, their status from the first moment in the country is irregular, not to speak of the generally illegal nature of this migration flow. Data from the International Migration Organization (IMO) inform that in 2002, Haitians paid around DR$1,500 pesos each in order to cross the border.

    65% of the bateye population is Haitian.

    It is important to highlight the conditions of extreme poverty in the bateyes, or workers' settlements, shared by Dominicans and Haitian alike. It is a misery that affects all sugar cane workers regardless of nationality and that historically follows a tradition established by foreign investors (specifically U.S. businessmen) that, at the turn of the century, began to use Dominican territory to found plantation-like productive units, sustained by a cheaper and untrained work force brought from the other Antilles. The poverty of the Dominican economy initially and in the later decadence of the sugar industry that did not know how, could not and did not want to modernize its means of production later aggravated the situation.

    Due to the decline of sugar, many Haitian workers have moved on to other productive areas and today are found on various agricultural plantations (coffee, rice, among others), in the informal sector (fruit and juice sales, gardening) or in the tourist industry; and above all in construction, one of the strongest economic sectors since the early 90s, in which Haitians constitute approximately 80% of the work force.

    The Dominican Republic is a country in the process of development that suffers high levels of poverty and must effect change on crucial and basic factors for the well-being of the population such as nutrition, health, social security and education. Due to precisely this situation, many Dominicans have had to go abroad, even risking their lives. In fact, today remittances that Dominicans abroad contribute to the country have become one of the principal mainstays of the national economy. The country cannot give to the working immigrant what it cannot supply for its own citizens. But neither does it posses the sufficient infrastructure nor the economic resources to face and control the abundant illegal traffic of illegal Haitian immigrants.

    While it searches for a solution for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Haitians (more than 90%), the Dominican state has guaranteed access to primary and secondary education for minors and has arrived at an agreement with the Republic of Haiti so that its embassy in the Dominican Republic can equip its citizens with identification documents.


    Table 1. Estimates of total Haitian and foreign populations
    Year/Foreign Population
    Low
    Moderate
    High
    1991
    Haitians
    71,000
    245,737
    491,474
    Others foreigners
    40,990
    114,581
    229,162
    Total
    112,000
    388,210
    720,636
    1996
    Haitians
    99,436
    290,737
    581,474
    Others foreigners
    46,364
    135,563
    271,127
    Total
    145,800
    426,300
    852,601
    2003
    Haitians
    115,000
    416,737
    833,474
    Others foreigners
    68,000
    194,314
    388,629
    Total
    183,000
    611,051
    1,222,103

    Table taken from the Report on Human Development - Dominican Republic 2005 Source: OHD/UNDP from Source: OHD/UNDP based on ENDESA 1991; ENDESA 1996; ENFT 2003 (April); ONE, Census of Haitians 1991; ONE, Statistics of entrance and departure of passengers, border stations.
     

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    Table 2 : Foreigners registered and residencies issued.

    Fuente: ODH/PNUD en base a Báez 1994 para datos de 1981 y 1992, Dirección General de Migración  para datos de 1998-2000 y 2000-2004.-

     

    Country of origin

    Foreigners registered

    1981
    1992
    1998-2004
    Residencies issued
    2000-2004
    Estados Unidos
    24,288
    74,391
    29,347
    8,453
    Haití
    14,943
    36,148
    1,867
    2,217
    España
    7,642
    13,105
    6,115
    3,844
    Alemania
    198
    4,838
    2,929
    2,438
    China
    3,912
    4,911
    4,493
    2,387
    Taiwán*
    -
    -
    719
    498
    Cuba
    3,225
    4,220
    1,809
    3,658
    Colombia
    1,020
    1,949
    1,486
    2,858
    Japón
    1,044
    1,806
    353
    253
    Holanda
    262
    1,785
    783
    113
    Canadá
    442
    1,737
    1,324
    1,147
    Italia
    260
    1,385
    2,553
    2,620
    México
    438
    1,280
    795
    843
    Francia
    256
    1,282
    83
    843
    Over 2,000 Foreigners Become Dominican Citizens

    Two thousand thirty four foreigners have opted for Dominican nationality in the last four years, according to statistics gathered by the Ministry of Interior and Police. Nacionalizados

    Of this amount, 580 are Cubans, dominating first place. They are followed by 481 Chinese, 348 from the United States and 147 from Venezuela. Curiously, only 18 Haitians have taken Dominican nationality.

    Puerto Ricans occupy the last place on the list with 62 people taking nationality, 7 of whom did so this year. Among them was the famous singer Danny Rivera.

    The year 2007 was when most foreigners decided to take Dominican nationality, with 683 in all. Cubans, again, were in first place with 239 and Americans next with 137 people becoming new citizens.

    People from almost all countries in the world have decided to swear loyalty to the Dominican flag. Among them are Palestinians, Algerians, Austrians, Armenians, Byelorussians, Bulgarians, Canadians, and people from the United Arab Emirates, Finland and Greece.

    In four years, 20 Mexican nations have sworn allegiance to the Dominican flag, along with 23 Pakistanis, 15 Lebanese, 3 Nigerians, 65 Spaniards, 37 French and 16 Argentines.

    At the same time, a source at the Interior Ministry said that the number would be higher except that many foreigners who sought Dominican nationality were denied due to pending “issues” with the judicial systems of their respective home countries “and that their Interpol report was negative.”

    The Department of Interpol, which has the final word when a foreigner from any country in the world applies for citizenship, must fill the constitutional requirements that include, in the case of the Dominican Republic, living for five consecutive and uninterrupted years in the country.

    As such, the statistics gathered by the Interior Ministry and Police show that in 2oo7, 5 Iranians out of the currently nationalized 10 also received citizenship.

    In 2005-2006, 1,068 foreigners took citizenship. In each time period, the largest number of new citizens were Cubans who opted for the Dominican Republic as their second home. In 2005, 109 Cubans became Dominican citizens and in 2006 154 Cubans did the same.











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