However, Dominican officials haven’t indicated whether they will compensate Haitian workers such as Henrique for decades of lost benefits.
Henrique’s new passport means he can at least start claiming his $125 monthly pension, enough to see a doctor for the first time in years about a skin condition and to check complications from a leg fracture he'd suffered long ago on the job.
‘‘I can’t work anymore. I don’t have the strength,’’ Henrique said while Scalabrinian volunteers helped others fill out forms. ‘‘How am I supposed to survive?’’
Louselene Bien-Aime said she would use the passport to register her four children with the government, two of whom were born in the Dominican Republic before 2010 but don’t have birth certificates. The street vendor said she believed the passport would also protect her from frequent immigration raids.
Julienne Prophete beamed on a recent afternoon as she held her new passport in her hands, a first since 1971.
‘‘I'm very happy,’’ the 62-year-old said. ‘‘I'm thankful to God first and the government second, for this precious gift.’’