Santa Cruz de El Seibo, Dominican Republic, April 14 (AFP/APP):When Andres was 12, his Dominican Republic citizenship — his only possession of any real value — was snatched from him by a court ruling targeting people with foreign-born parents. Ten years later, Andres is still undocumented in the country where he was born, working a backbreaking, low-paying job in the sugarcane fields with little hope of bettering himself. Andres’s mother is from Haiti, with which the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola and a long history of migratory conflict. His father, a local, is not in the picture. “I was born here… my nationality is Dominican,” said the young man who has a birth certificate but no ID card — a prerequisite for any administrative procedure. Andres, whose surname is being concealed to protect him, is one of some 250,000 Dominicans born to foreign parents — mainly Haitians — who had their birthright citizenship stripped by a Constitutional Court ruling in 2013. The court decided that only people born in the country to Dominican parents or legal residents can be citizens. The ruling was applied retroactively to all people born to expats in the republic from 1929 to 2010 — creating “a situation of statelessness of a magnitude never before seen in the Americas,” according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Thousands of newly undocumented people have since been expelled from the country of 10.5 million inhabitants — many to Haiti, a failing country they do not even know. Many undocumented cane workers like Andres live in “bateyes” — precarious settlements of rickety wooden houses with outside toilets. Immigration raids are rare here. But the cane workers regularly get rounded up when they go to the cities and towns in search of higher-paying jobs or medical care. Even pregnant women have been expelled after going for checkups. At one settlement around a batey in El Seibo, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the capital Santo Domingo, children play on dirt streets while workers play dominoes and make jokes in Creole — the Haitian language derived from French. Most are from Haiti or descendants of Haitians — a throwback from the time of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1930-1961) who actively pursued labourers from there. Most who came to the Dominican Republic were illiterate and were never provided with proper migration papers even though they stayed on as life in neighbouring Haiti — the poorest country in the Americas — became more and more complicated. There was no visa and no official residence — a situation interpreted by the Constitutional Court as meaning those first generations of workers were merely in transit. Until the ruling, those born on Dominican soil — except for those born to migrants in transit — were automatically citizens. But no longer. Desperate, some have taken to paying Dominicans to adopt their children, at least on paper, so that they can have ID papers.