On November 20, the New York Times published an article titled "Immigrant Laborers from Haiti are Paid With Abuse in the Dominican Republic". This was a very ballsy article written by one of the most prestigious publications in the United States that generated reactions from a number of groups because not only did it accuse Dominicans of practicing modern day slavery it accussed them of things that would probably make sense if we couldn't argue that the U.S. does the same exact thing with the Mexicans but in a grander scale.
When Vicente Fox said that "Mexicans do work that not even the blacks in the US will do", (without trying to sound politically correct) I thought that the man was right. The Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of America got all bent out of shape over that statement but it's the truth. Mexican laborers are paid with abuse in the United States.
The whole Haiti issue has gotten a lot of attention from everyone these days. It all started with a few murders, it continued with worker's rights and most recently because of the immigration issue.
Before I proceed, I want you to picture this: Dominican Republic is a third world country. It is far richer than Haiti, this is true; however, it is a very poor country drowned in debt, about to enter the CAFTA which I can't imagine will bring anything good. Here in Dominican Republic, there aren't enough schools for our children let alone other children, there aren't enough hospital supplies and beds for our people let alone other people, there aren't enough jobs (the Codigo laboral even says that you can't employ more than 20% foreigners) and there simply aren't enough resources. This isn't really a "land of opportunity". People do what they have to do to make end's meet and that's that.
Now, there are over a million Haitians living illegally in the Dominican Republic. ON THE MOST PART (as in NOT ALL OF THEM), these people can't speak our language, don't share our culture, and have no formal education to speak of. The women have taken to cross the border so they can come give birth here and later good portion of these women and children can be found on the streets begging and panhandling.
According to the Dominican Constitution you are a Dominican citizen by jus solis and jus sanguinis. In layman's terms that means by birth and blood. Over the years Haitians have taken advantage of this and have been coming to have their children in our hospitals. A number of steps have been taken to prevent this but all to no avail.
Yesterday the Supreme Court in one of its most important ruling regarding immigration law said that it is Dominican everyone who is either born to Dominican parents, or born in the Dominican Republic while legally here. Basically, members of the foreign service, people in transit, and illegal aliens who have their children here can not opt for Dominican citizenship.
This is a huge step regarding the immigration situation. Most Dominicans are happy with this measure and even the opposing parties applaud the decision. Pro-Haitian groups, however, are not happy with the decision and there is even talk about them wanting to take the Dominican Republic to the international court.
In one of the many gatherings that have taken place in the Hague over the years (I can't remember which one), each country was given the right to decide how their people would gain citizenship. Apparently that's okay for everyone except Dominicans.
I come from a family of immigrants. I know first hand what it's like to leave your home in the hopes of something better for yourself and your family. In my opinion, immigrants and refugees deserve our utmost respect; however, I am a firm believer in procedure. There are ways to do things and if you do things right they usually work out better.
Personally, I applaud the Supreme Court ruling and I hope that it will make things better. Dominicans need a visa to visit the vast majority of countries. I REALLY don't see what the big deal is for a Haitian to get a visa to come here. Procedure people. Procedure.