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Deadline nears to gain status for children of migrants born in Dominican Republic

People of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic stand in line to apply for a birth certificate listing them as foreigners, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The government says people have until Feb. 1 to apply for birth certificates as foreigners, needed to gain legal status. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

People of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic stand in line to apply for a birth certificate listing them as foreigners, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The government says people have until Feb. 1 to apply for birth certificates as foreigners, needed to gain legal status. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)  (The Associated Press)

Time is running out to gain legal status for tens of thousands of people born to migrants in the Dominican Republic.

The government says people have until Feb. 1 to apply for birth certificates as foreigners. Deputy Interior Minister Luis Fernandez said Friday that only 6,500 of the estimated 60,000 in the country have registered.

Migrant advocates say the low enrollment is because of requirements to produce documentation that many people lack. Some are reluctant to register as foreigners in the country where they were born, even if the government says they can apply for citizenship in two years.

The government launched the effort after the Supreme Court ruled that people born in the country don't qualify for citizenship unless their parents were citizens. Most are of Haitian descent.