Why We Do What We Do
What we do is very easy to understand. We provide services. Why we do it is a little more complex, but at the same time, it is very simple.The what is important. The why is
What we do is very easy to understand. We provide services. Why we do it is a little more complex, but at the same time, it is very simple.
The what is important. The why is quintessential.
During the COVID crisis, the Costa Rican government has implemented measures with the intention to protect the general public from the spread of the virus. While the efforts to contain the virus have rendered mixed results, a consistent trend has been the violation of the rights of immigrants during this process.
Let’s take a look at why immigrant rights are important to protect. Immigrants are a class of people. In recent times we have witnessed the continued struggle of African Americans aiming to obtain equal treatment in the United States. So, let’s think about that for a moment, let’s extrapolate that situation to other episodes of inequality or discrimination in history.
In recent times, and over centuries, we have struggled for equality, for treating all humans with dignity.
There should be no slavery. There shall not be a system that sets a different class of people subjugating another class.
There shall not be feudalism, a system whereby a ruling class controls the real estate and therefore the means of production in a farming economy.
There shall not be apartheid, a system that enables an ethnic minority to control the majority of resources.
There shall not be discrimination on the basis of gender. Women must have equal rights. The right to vote, right to employment, right to property, right to equal pay, reproductive rights, right to self-determination, right not to be treated as property.
There shall not be discrimination on the basis of religion. There should be religious freedom.
This is the basis of universal declaration of human rights. Thousands if not millions of people have died to give us these rights we enjoy today. Imagine living 300 years ago with no rights to property, to vote, to education, to get a job. All those rights come at a cost.
Fast forward to today, we have a pandemic, and indeed we need to protect the general health of the public, but not at the expense of the rights of the immigrant people in Costa Rica.
In March 2020, the CR President Carlos Alvarado announced that international travel was banned, but only for immigrants. He even mentioned on national TV that foreign residents who leave the country would lose the residency. He did this with the intention to prevent the spread of the virus by allowing people back into the country. The intention seemed reasonable, but the issue is that he did not ban the travel for Costa Rican citizens, he only banned the travel of foreign residents, and thus treating a class of minority people differently than another class of majority people.
Why did the CR Government ban travel for foreign residents but not the travel of Costa Ricans? Are Costa Ricans less susceptible to contract the COVID 19 virus?
Over the several months the travel restrictions were in place, it prevented thousands of foreign nationals living in Costa Rica from traveling abroad for very valid reasons. People needed to travel to receive medical treatment, to take care of an agonizing relative, to work, to comply with legal obligations, but they were not able to do so due to the fear of not being able to return, or as the president said because they can lose their immigration status in Costa Rica. A place that is supposed to be their home.
The unequal treatment we witness from the travel restrictions for the COVID 19 pandemic are just a little sample of the systematic discrimination the CR government has implemented against foreign nationals.
Section 19 of the CR Constitution establishes that foreigners have all and the same rights that Costa Ricans have, except for political rights which refers to voting and being elected in office. In our day to day, we witness the discrimination that foreigners receive. There is no equality in Costa Rica.
While people from North America and Europe are discriminated against (and I know that you feel it) imagine what Nicaraguans go through every day. “Those fucking Nicas” Ticos say.
In Costa Rican history, there was a point when indigenous people were slaves, when black people had no rights, when women could not vote or get an education, when same sex couples could not marry. We are at a point when foreign nationals are not treated equally, and it has to stop.
What do we do? We provide assistance to the expat community. “We are a passionate team of professionals dedicated to providing you with outstanding service and to giving you the best experience in your transition to Costa Rica.” That is our mission statement. We believe in your mission of relocating to another country because that is your dream.
But, WHY do we do it? We believe in a world where everybody is treated equally. We believe in a world with no frontiers, not racial, not gender based, not religion based, not socially based, not political.
Over the years, we have fought many battles, some of them we won, some we lost. New readers may not be aware, but over the past eight years we have been able to change the one-month requirement of marriage certificates for CAJA registration, which resulted in my permanent suspension by the Board of Notary Publics due to the mass weddings done in el Coco, Atenas, and Arenal. We sued the Immigration Department for 90 percent of our cases to force them to comply with the 90-day processing rule. In a joint effort with the Costa Rican Bar Association and other attorneys, we put an end to the immigration department’s the nonsensical rule of requiring background checks to be issued by the NCIC in the US (impossible to obtain). During the pandemic, we were able to have the government issue drivers license extensions for people with a tourist visa, and were able to have the Supreme Court upholding that the impediment to entering the country for foreign nationals with residency was discriminatory. With this, we made it possible for residents to come back to Costa Rica.
We have many projects, and battles, ahead of us, and we will continue to assist you in the best way possible. It is a challenge. All of these projects are executed at no additional cost to our clients or the community. We do them because we believe in our clients, because we believe in our community, because we believe in you.
We try to give good quality of life to our staff, and we try to find a balance between work and family. Many people in our organization invest long nights and weekends to make things happen. We have our clients, who at the end of the day support our business and put food on our tables. However, there are many other people who simply reach us because they need some guidance and they have nowhere else to go, and we just cannot look the other way. There are so many other people that we just cannot help, and we wish we could.
Why do we do what we do? We are Outliers. We want to continue pushing the envelope. We believe in your goals, and we believe that you deserve the right to reach those goals and be treated with dignity in the process.
We are not exempt from the challenges the pandemic brought to all of us. Nevertheless, we are investing in our company so that we can continue providing you with the assistance that you need and deserve.
Thank you for your support.