Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Problem of Illegal Immigration

It is relevant that I tell you this before I begin my article: I grew up in a small town in Dominican Republic. Contrary to what most people believe, the majority of the Dominican population is of white descent (from Spain) there are though, of course, those who are descendants of the black slaves and the Native Indians. The majority of the blacks were pushed by the white population to the west side of the island to a country now called Haiti.

The economy of Haiti didn't do as well as the economy in Dominican Republic, on our side we had the best land, and grew coffee, cotton and sugarcane. The less fertile area of Haiti wasn't as prosperous. Our economy flourished and Haiti's didn't. Now Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and they illegally immigrate into the Dominican Republic looking for better jobs and a better future.

Hundreds of years after the Dominican war for independence against Spain and after pushing the now freed slaves into a different territory racism still lingers in the country. Like I had said before I grew up in a small town amidst this racism. My mother taught me to dislike Haitians because they were "dirty, smelly illegal construction workers and cotton pickers."

Now our country houses millions of illegal Haitian immigrants. They have, of course, taken the jobs that Dominican citizens don't want to do, they work in the sugar cane fields, making money that can't afford them a decent living, and yet, the majority of Dominicans believe that their large numbers threatens the sovereignty of our country.

I have grown up and now I see things in a different way. These people are not immigrating into our country because they want to be treated miserably, often with violence, having their houses, if you can call it that, burned, earning slavery wages and separating themselves from their families, they are in our country because back home they live in utter dispair, sometimes even forced to eat dirt. Yes, dirt. They bake 'cookies' out of it and sell it.

I have matured but apparently the world hasn't. These injustices are going on, not only in my country but also here in the United States. The only things Americans hate more than terrorism is illegal Mexicans. Ok, maybe not all Americans, but close.In the case of the Americans things aren't much different, immigrants are going to a country with a better economy looking for better jobs and a better future and encounter the same low paying jobs, the same racist people calling them "dirty, smelly illegals who take our jobs" just like Dominicans are doing in their country. Is this really what we should be doing? Complaining about how they are threatening the future of our country, telling them to go back home along with racist insults, or should we take a more assertive approach and try to fix the problem at the root of it, back in Mexico or Haiti, and try to help their economy? Any suggestions?


  1. I see some resentment because often those from other countries are given tax breaks for opening businesses...but I know that's not the whole story. As many say, though, often the jobs they take are jobs others wouldn't want. We, for instance, eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant once a week. The prices are low and the food is good...they are able to offer that because of those tax breaks, I'm guessing. So we DO benefit from it.

  2. I don't quite know a solution but I do know that this phenomena is far from isolated, and very much racially motivated. Tribes in Africa although all considered "black" find themselves racially divided by tribe and are not hesitant to instigate similar behavior. This goes for all societies that are growing. Tolerance is something a society must learn as it advances.