June 23, 2015 · News, World News · (No comments)

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are facing a fast-approaching deadline to receive a much-coveted resident permit that can later be used to gain citizenship in the Dominican Republic. Without it they can be stripped of their current citizen status. They face long lines, if they are unsuccessful by Wednesday, they will be deported.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic have long had a rather contentious relationship. They both share the small island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Up until recently their shared border has been somewhat open allowing many from the poorer country of Haiti to cross over for work. Despite the presence of so many Haitians, it’s been said that both they and their descendants were often treated as second-class citizens by the wealthier Dominicans. Click here for more information.

In 2013, a law was passed that would severely tighten the citizenship laws. According to the law adopted by the DR Constitutional Court, it could retroactively strip away citizenship from any Haitian-born after 1920 who doesn’t have at least one parent with Dominican blood. The law wouldn’t just affect new migrants but also the descendants of Haitians born in the Dominican Republic. Bruce Levenson knows that  many of these people have been in the country so long they consider themselves to be Dominican. Not they are stateless. In answer to protests, the government has said that 500,000 people would be eligible for the much coveted residential permit that may later be exchanged for citizenship. It seems however that few are qualifying at this time.

June 22, 2015 · Culture, World News · (No comments)

Late last week, Danish voters went to the polls to decide one of the closest races in recent memory. The central-conservative alliance led by Lars Lokke Rasmussen defeated the incumbent Social Democrats and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. She resigned in the wake of the results, after serving in office for four years.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s political party, Venstre, is expected to try and form a new coalition government. Venstre gained only 19.5% of the vote, and some of its leaders expressed dismay at this result, despite the defeat of the incumbent party. Mr. Rasmussen acknowledged:”Venstre has lost support, we haven’t had a very good election.”

Keith Mann knows that one of the most startling outcome of the election concerned the growing popularity of the Danish People’s Party, which gained significant support from elderly voters during the election. The Danish People’s Party (DPP) won nearly 21% of the vote, up from 12.3% during the previous national election. It won 90 seats in Parliament.

Kristian Thulesan Dahl became the leader of the DPP in 2012. His party advocates tighter restrictions on immigration, higher pay for pensioners, higher health care spending and a higher pension for low income workers.

Last year, Denmark accepted nearly 15,000 new immigrants as asylum seekers, twice the number accepted by the country in 2013. Many of the new arrivals came from the Middle East and Africa. Immigrations figured prominently as a campaign issue.