Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Tuesday, February 9, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Holy Redeemer Open House 2016

Home : News : Nation and World
High court ruling on children of immigrants splits Dominican Catholics
Catholic News Service


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A controversial high court ruling in the Dominican Republic that strips citizenship from children of illegal immigrants has drawn international criticism and split the Catholic Church here.

The Sept. 23 Constitutional Court ruling will affect the citizenship status of potentially hundreds of thousands of people born in the country to undocumented immigrant parents as far back as 1929. It cannot be appealed.

Most of those targeted by the ruling already hold Dominican citizenship. The vast majority are children of Haitian laborers who traveled across the shared Caribbean island of Hispaniola in search of work and settled down and raised families.

The question of how to control and regulate immigration from neighboring Haiti has long been one of the defining social questions in the Dominican Republic. But the court ruling has reignited passions over the issue and whether the country should acquiesce to foreign pressures on human rights issues.

"As the religious Dominicans, we cannot remain indifferent to the call of God in the pain and the exclusion of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans that are being affected by this sentence," the Dominican Conference of Religious said in a communique. The ruling "is violating civil rights."

The letter, signed by 43 priests, nuns and other members of clergy, drew a stiff rebuke from Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo.

"They can also say what they want," he said in response. "No one is above the Constitutional Court. No one, the Catholic Church included."

Cardinal Lopez's office declined to comment beyond his public statements.

The division within the church does not surprise Dominican scholar Emelio Betances, author of "The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America."

"In general on issues such as this one, the church has fallen on the conservative side. But the church is a complex institution with various voices," Betances said. "The cardinal has a lot of influence."

Bishop Rafael Felipe Nunez of Barahona, an area near the border with Haiti, opposed the ruling.

"Some have lived in the country for 30 or 40 years," he said, referring to those affected by the ruling. "Others have been here for two generations. They have grandchildren who were born here. ... They don't know anything about Haiti. They are Dominicans."

Cardinal Lopez has been among the most blunt Dominican leaders in calling for the country to exert its sovereignty in the face of mounting international pressure that threatens the country's reputation and relationship with key trading partners, including the United States.

"Don't involve yourselves," he said in late October in response to international criticism of the ruling. "Here in the Dominican Republic, we are the bosses, not the international bodies. They should go to their countries and fix what is wrong there. I don't accept anyone who comes here to dictate anything."

He is not alone. Dominican President Danilo Medina, leading politicians and some members of the clergy have supported the ruling.

"The issue is so delicate right now that it's difficult to speak out about it," one priest in Santo Domingo said, asking his name be withheld for fear of angering his peers and superiors. "I think there are many people in the church who support what the archbishop is saying. He's saying that the country has a right to interpret its laws without foreign interference."

The Constitutional Court ruling, which cannot be appealed in domestic courts, has capped a decade of maneuvers by the Dominican government seeking to limit the rights of children of immigrants.

The constitution had long granted citizenship to anyone born in the country with the exception of those "in transit," a group limited to special circumstances like foreign diplomats stationed here.

However, the government sought to expand the definition of "in transit" to include illegal immigrants, such as the hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in the country and working as construction laborers and sugar cane cutters. An estimated 458,223 Haitians are living in the Dominican Republic, according to an immigrant census released earlier this year.

In 2004, the country passed a migration law that formally expanded the definition of "in transit" to include the children of Haitian immigrants. As a result, authorities began denying documentation to tens of thousands of people who fell into that category, refusing to grant identity papers necessary to do everything from register a child in school to graduate college.

In 2010, the country approved a new constitution that formalized the distinction, leaving more than 244,000 children of immigrants questioning whether they are eligible for citizenship. The government is reviewing the birth registry to verify the exact number of those affected.

"I'm not Haitian, I'm Dominican," said Altagracia Jean Joseph, who was born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents and traveled to Haiti only once in his life. "I'd prefer to die than to live as a foreigner in the country where I was born."

Armed with stories like that of Jean Joseph, Catholic groups have taken the offensive in pressuring the Dominican government to reverse the ruling.

"There are legislative measures the Dominican government can take to address this situation," said Mary Small, assistant director for policy at the Jesuit Refugee Service in the United States.

Jesuit Refugee Service was among two dozen international organizations and human rights groups that signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking for the U.S. to pressure the Dominican government on the issue.

Yet, Betances said it is unlikely that international pressure will force the Dominican government to take action.

"What you are seeing and hearing loudly, unfortunately, are the voices of the minority," he said.



Advanced Search










Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved