Dominican legislators tentatively approve citizenship bill targeting those of Haitian descent

Legislators in the Dominican Republic have approved a bill they say could allow thousands of people of Haitian descent born in the Caribbean country the opportunity to obtain naturalized citizenship.

The lower house originally was expected to create a committee to analyze the bill, but legislators noted there was an urgency to vote on the measure filed this week by President Danilo Medina's office.

They approved the bill on Friday, and it now goes to the Senate for debate.

Medina submitted the bill after a court last year issued a highly criticized ruling that would allow the government to strip the citizenship of thousands of people born to migrants living illegally in the Dominican Republic.