(Washington, D.C.) November 5, 2013 — The Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court ruled on September 23 that Juliana Deguis Pierre, who was born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents in 1984 and registered as Dominican at her birth, should be denied Dominican nationality because her parents were undocumented migrants. In addition to retroactively stripping her of her rightful nationality, the Court also ordered the Central Electoral Board to examine all birth registries since 1929 and identify for denationalization all persons who were similarly registered by irregular migrants.
In the month and a half since the ruling, Jesuit ministries around the world have taken action to pressure the Dominican government to uphold human rights, comply with international treaties and conventions to which it belongs, and respect the dignity of all people.
"Our faith calls us to be close to [the affected] people," said Fr. Mario Serrano S.J., National Director of Social Ministries for the Jesuits in the Dominican Republic. "Wherever there is injustice, we have to be there trying to build justice."
A public letter signed and distributed by 43 Catholic religious leaders in the Dominican Republic, denounced the ruling and promised that "our work will continue to be focused on accompanying the suffering of the excluded, defending life in all circumstances of abuse and identifying ourselves with the victims of society, as taught by the Gospel of Luke (10:29-37)."
"All Christians have to be in solidarity with these people, to help them fight for their rights," said Fr. Serrano.
Fr. Serrano discusses the recent ruling, the impact it has had on the people the Jesuits in the Dominican Republic accompany, his analysis of the so-called regularization plan that the Dominican government is promoting, and his perspective as a Christian: