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Dominican Senate gives final legislative OK to citizenship bill meant for ethnic Haitians

The Senate in the Dominican Republic has given final legislative approval to a bill that will set up a system for granting naturalized citizenship to people of Haitian descent born in the Caribbean country.

The bill still must be officially published to become law. It was introduced by President Danilo Medina and the lower house passed it last week.

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

Rights groups estimated about 200,000 people could lose their citizenship, the majority of them of Haitian descent. But the government maintained that only 24,000 people would be affected, with some 13,000 of them of Haitian ancestry.