Must look in the mirror, NOW

Today is an exciting day for coalition partners, the stakeholder meetings will include the Golf Ball Licker Association, IMAX Screen Cleaners Union, Dice Quality Inspectors, Dog Food Tasters and Full Time Netflix Viewers.

They will all have a press conference following the amicable discussions, and the local press will be able to ask questions that prove they hardly know anything about the subject.

One of those press conferences, the one with HAIS, UNHCR and IOM, followed the stakeholder meeting with Premier Wever Croes, on Tuesday. It delivered an avalanche of xenophobic, narrow-minded, and hateful, comments on line, sending all undocumented back to where they came from, with zero compassion and no understanding of their situation.

One of the media outlets presented a collage of all GNC arrests of illegal arrivals, as the backdrop to the press conference, stirring up further negative feelings against the intruders.

People, you must look in the mirror, NOW.

Aruba is an immigrant country.

In 1960, 23% of the population was foreign-born. In 2010, 33%.


Most of the new Arubans came here from Columbia, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic and/or Curacao.

More than half stay, get married, have kids and careers, and contribute to our economy


In order to enjoy economic growth, we need more working hands. We cannot keep up with the demand by having babies, Aruban women have less children now, and are not about to have more. Our population is aging, hence IMMIGRATION.

We need immigrants in order to keep our economic momentum.

64% of our foreign-born population has been here for more than 10 years, with 100 women for every 91 men, and ½ of them applied and qualified for the Dutch nationality.

Among the second generation immigrants 93.4% have the Dutch nationality and the majority speaks Papiamento at home.

Which only comes to show that our foreign-born nationals integrate well and their children are totally integrated.

If you check with CBS, Central Bureau of Statistics, you will find out that, like it or not, in 2030, 45.7% of the population will be foreign-born.

The meeting with HIAS, UNHCR and IOM went well. Issues were discussed. While the Aruba government recognizes kids’ right to education and schooling, access to health care is more complicated.

Not yet.

And while the population of undocumented locals received vaccines, no questions asked, GOA should also improve access to health care.

The estimate of 17.000 undocumented is informal, and just a guess, perhaps it is time to count, so we know what we’re facing, and the Dutch could pitch in with resources once we know how many people need help.

A positive development: Premier Wever-Croes explained openly that new construction projects, will employ no overseas workers. Workers will be recruited from among undocumented here, and those who qualify for work will receive papers. That’s a good move.

A few countries in the region experimented with some kind of Amnesty.

IOM = Committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

UNHCR = Global organization dedicated to saving lives and protecting the rights of refugees forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement in third county.

HAIS = HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. For more than 130 years, HIAS has been helping refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.


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August 05, 2021
Rona Coster