In a survey done of 169 batey homes, one of the three biggest requests for aid was more documentation. Many Haitians in the Dominican Republic are extremely vulnerable because they do not have legal status, making it difficult to find work, go to school, and access health care, among other issues. Even children of Haitian descent born in the Domininan Republic have been denied legal status.
In 2013, a controversial ruling by the Dominican Republic's highest court made thousands of Dominican-born people of Haitian descent stateless. After international pressure, they announced a regularization process to give people of Haitian descent an opportunity to apply for legal residency and citizenship. The process was lengthy and expensive, so Project Esperanza has offered support with paperwork and expenses to our students, their families, and other community members.
As of the beginning of 2016, we were able to support:
- 32 people with finances and handling their paperwork
- 100 people with getting through the lines at the regularization office
- 46 people with documentation through PIDIH (Identification Program and Documentation of Haitian immigrants)