Foundation Will Help Dominicans in the U.S.

Alfredo Rodriguez (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

Alfredo Rodriguez (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

Dominican Congressional Deputy Overseas Alfredo Rodríguez, who represents Dominicans in the U.S. and Canada in his country’s parliament, announced that the Fundación en Defensa de los Dominicanos en Norteamérica (Foundation in Defense of Dominicans in North America, FDDN) will repatriate deceased nationals whose relatives do not have the means to bring their remains back home.

“If they don’t have the money (to bring the bodies back to the Dominican Republic) we will cover the costs. And if the family has no food, we will also help them through the foundation,” he explained.

The foundation, which Rodríguez created with his own money, offers legal counsel, help with repatriation of funds, and defends tenants in risk of being evicted.

“Dominicans abroad face multiple problems as a result of the migration process. Our consulates try to respond within their capabilities to our nationals’ needs, and my foundation is trying to do its bit in bringing some help,” said Rodríguez to Reporte Hispano.

He also expressed worries about Dominicans who pursued higher education in their country but did not finished their studies.

“There are many Dominicans in this country who have not finished college, and we believe we must help them in some way so they can finish their studies and support their families here and back in the Dominican Republic,” said Rodríguez, who belongs to the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD).

“We are working on a joint project with the Dominican government to seek ways to help them. An educated Dominican is a Dominican who earns more money,” he said.

Rodríguez thinks that the Dominican community in New Jersey is growing fast, in large part because of people moving in from New York.

He based this assertion on the May 15 elections, which reelected the president and decided the composition of the Dominican parliament for the 2016-2020 period. “New Jersey showed the biggest voter increase in the U.S.,” he said.

Another issue he is currently eyeing is expanding from 5 to 7 years the period in which Dominicans can send a vehicle to their country without paying taxes.

The Dominican community abroad contributes some $5 billion to the national coffers, so we should not overcharge them with taxes when they come back to rebuild their lives, he said.

“We need to work to stop Dominicans from being taxed when they send shipments to their relatives. They work really hard to send money and supplies to their families and, on top of that, they are being charged,” he said.

He added that the government currently does not charge for sending rice, oil or fruit to the D.R., but if they detect “big shipments intended for reselling, they are charged.”

Finally, he encouraged nationals to apply for their voter registration card in order to increase the electoral participation of the Dominican diaspora, “because only through voting we will be able to change our country.”

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