Thucydides famously said “right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” So is the case with the Dominican Republic before the United States and other rich countries who, in face of the Dominican government’s decision to set a deadline to deport illegal immigrants, got on their high horse to rebuke the country for enforcing its laws on immigration.
How can one deem “immoral” a government’s actions to protect its homeland by enforcing the law of the land, especially when the resources of that land do not suffice to feed, educate and purvey even the most basic opportunities for the full development of its own people?
- Jonathan D'Oleo
One of the quickest and slickest in jumping on his moral stallion has been Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City. Speaking at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center in Washington Heights, Mr. de Blasio thoughtlessly and irresponsibly accused the Dominican government of incurring in an “illegal act” that is “immoral and racist.” Moreover, Amnesty International, a human rights organization, said it is “concerned many Dominican-born people with a legitimate right to stay could be removed because they lack documentation.”
These statements, however, are far removed from objective truth. Firstly, lawfully deporting illegal immigrants, as the Dominican government says it will, is by no means “illegal.” Considering it so is simply unreasonable. Haitians, for many years, have contravened Dominican Republic’s immigration laws facing little if no negative repercussions. To the contrary, the country has welcomed the Haitian community into its workforce and has stood in solidarity with them in moments of great trial and tribulation.
Secondly, how can one deem “immoral” a government’s actions to protect its homeland by enforcing the law of the land, especially when the resources of that land do not suffice to feed, educate and purvey even the most basic opportunities for the full development of its own people? Every household has, or at least should have, a hierarchy of priorities and it is therefore unfair to call a head of household “immoral” for feeding his children before he feeds his neighbor’s children. As so is the Dominican government’s predicament before its citizens, analogous to the head of household who is unable to make ends meet for his own family.
These challenges notwithstanding, the Dominican people have gone over and beyond in lending a helping hand to their Haitian neighbors throughout most of the ages and stages of their nations’ shared history.
Moving forward to address Mr. de Blasio’s third attempted blow, accusing the Dominican government of being unequivocally “racist” purely because most of its illegal immigrants happen to be black is tantamount to accusing the Unites States of being out rightly anti-Mexican just because most of its illegal immigrants happen to be Mexican, which is, needless to say, an utterly preposterous affirmation. Whereas racism and anti-Mexican sentiments are undeniably in existence, they are overwhelmingly the exception and not the rule. Yet Mayor de Blasio and others who share in his philosophical proclivities of mindless progressivism seem to readily disregard the virtues of even-handedness and temperance for the sake of scoring political points that, frankly speaking, at the end of the day will most likely just disappoint any and every knowledgeable and fair-minded person concerned in this matter.
The Dominican cultural and ethnic fabric is interwoven with a rich array of colors and idyosincracies each of which plays a significant role in the country’s national and international drama. In baseball, for example, the Dominican skin color palette is quite diverse covering virtually every hue between black, brown and white. From Albert Pujols (brown) to Alex Rodriguez (kind of white) and David Ortiz (pitch black), Dominicans celebrate each and every one of them as they hit it out of the park day in and day out. As to Mr. de Blasio, he has struck out in his turn at the bat swinging careless accusations that mischaracterize Dominicans as being racist, immoral and unlawful.
Lastly, Amnesty International gave the Dominican Republic a hit by pitch throwing a curveball directed at the heart of the country’s Constitution and missing by an egregious jurisprudential margin. Their curveball argument expresses concern for what they call “the legitimate right” of “Dominican-born” people to stay in the country. This would be good and valid if the “Dominican-born” people they are referring to were actually Dominican.
Unlike the United States wherein a person is granted birthright citizenship by jus soli (right of the soil) regardless of the parents' status (legal or illegal), the Dominican Constitution does not automatically grant citizenship to children of illegal aliens who are born in the country. These children of illegal aliens, by the way, are amongst those that do not have any legal documentation whatsoever. The entity responsible for providing such documentation is the Haitian government. Dominicans have framed their immigration laws so as to serve the best interest of their country that, given its social and economic circumstances, is currently unable to absorb the overwhelming number of Haitian immigrants who have crossed and would cross the border in search of a better life.
The international community, especially the rich countries and the Bill de Blasios of this world, need to understand this and instead of pointing fingers they should use their economic and political clout to truly help the weakest of the weak. Regrettably so, what they are now doing is what Dr. Ravi Zacharias describes as “moralizing politics and politicizing morality” even as the weak (Dominican Republic) is left to take care of the weakest (Haiti) thereby becoming weaker and poorer. All the while the rich, “compassionate”, self-righteous and progressive “welfare” states of the West get richer and stronger even as the rest of the world suffers hunger and disproportionately partake in the negative consequences of everyone’s political blunders.
Jonathan D'Oleo is a management consultant, author, speaker and public policy expert. Twitter @JonathanJDOleo.