How Applying for a Dutch Residence Permit Taught Me the Truth About European Racism

I left the Dominican Republic in 1996, and have only been back a few times, so when I first started reading in 2013 that immigration laws in the country were becoming so strict that the words "ethnic cleansing" could apply, I almost believed it. But then I came to the Netherlands and experienced first-hand the exact same thing that many Haitian nationals in the Dominican Republic allege happens to them in their attempts to gain legal documentation, and although most claims by these Haitian nationals are unconfirmed, each time I went to the immigration office here in the Netherlands I did so accompanied by a white, European female who can confirm these statements were actually made and that these attempts to deny me rights were used. 

I should first begin by saying that I felt more Dutch before coming to Europe than I do now, after years of living here. I thought my mom's citizenship here and the fact that I spoke some Papiamentu, a Dutch creole, meant something, but I was gravely mistaken. 

Within a week of arriving in the Netherlands, I went to the immigration office, the IND, and was delusional enough to think that my residence permit from Spain and my mom's citizenship was enough to give me legal status. The immigration official immediately woke me up and said, "this is just a Spanish residence permit, you're not Dutch."

If I could go back in time, it would be that exact same day that I would have purchased a plane ticket to New York or the Dominican Republic and never looked back, but I was weak and in a rut and wound up stuck here. A year later, I went again to the IND to see if perhaps the laws had changed, since they change yearly, but was again bluntly told that by then I was already older than 25, so my mom's citizenship was even less irrelevant than it was when I arrived at 24. 

After this, she informed me that the application was 1250 euros, and I smiled, saying that such an exorbitant price for an application was discrimination against the poor. She grew furious at that comment and said, "Why don't you just go back?" She then started talking in Dutch with my girlfriend, and I remained unfazed, hiding my displeasure with her blatant, vile racism. 

It was at that point that I should have known that this country was just one terrorist attack from descending into full-blown racial hate, but for some reason I decided to stay. 

Two years later, after finally fulfilling the onerous financial, health, and residential requirements for the IND, I went to city hall to register at my address. 

The agent at city hall already knew who I was, and she had a document with a picture of me taken with a webcam by the foreign police. So, right here at Leiden City Hall, and at every city hall in the Netherlands, you can know that information is being provided by immigration authorities. 

The official at Leiden City Hall then began stalling, telling me that first I needed a sticker from the IND before she could register me, knowing full well that that was a blatant and dirty lie. I pointed out to her on the IND website that US citizens were exempt from the sticker requirement, but she said her English was not good enough to read the Dutch government's own immigration website. She continued denying me the right to register, requesting a sticker that I did not need as a US citizen. 

After this, I pulled out my Spanish residence permit to prove that I had entered the European Union legally and did not need to prove entry into the Netherlands, but she complained that the residence permit looked very old. I told her that it was because I had it for a decade, and that it was a document that I did not even need to show her, as my US passport was enough. 

After wasting a good portion of my afternoon and putting me under undue stress, she finally registered me, and as an excuse said that she was new and did not fully know the law. 

Yesterday I read an article on CNN about how Dominican immigration authorities regularly make it a bureaucratic nightmare for Haitians to register births, to get basic documents, etc. CNN wrote

"Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent were stripped of their citizenship and forced to prove they were born here. Hundreds of thousands more who are undocumented immigrants have been forced to register with the government."

The inhumanity of the EU. © Abreu Report
Before I came to the Netherlands, this website would have perhaps been a voice that could have argued for moderation in Dominican immigration law, but now I see them as not strict enough. 

I come from a respected political family, and members of my family are ranked as "large financial contributors" by the Dominican government. 

I could have been a voice against strict Dominican immigration law, but after coming to the Netherlands as the US citizen son of a Dutch citizen and with legal status in another EU country and suffering nothing but insults along the way and seeing how much more brutal and savage it is here, I must work tirelessly and endlessly to highlight the hypocrisy of the European Union. 

Dominican immigration law is not only far more humane than anything the European Union has produced, we have a minuscule fraction of the EU's population and wealth, yet our border is still open to Haitian women crossing to give birth. No EU country would even consider opening its doors to pregnant women of sub-Saharan ancestry, that's the brutal reality here. The European Union is asking the Dominican Republic to not only keep its hospitals open, but to register all births, to essentially bankrupt ourselves and become a different country, demographically, and they are financing the propaganda to those ends. 

In the past I was actually a bit disgruntled at the immigration official at the IND for telling me to go back, and for the city hall official for telling me to get a sticker which I did not need, but now I would like to thank them: without you, my country would not have one of its most able defenders ruthlessly attacking anyone who dares criticize Dominican immigration law.