Dropped Charges Due to “Cultural Incompetency” Demonstrates Exactly Why Assimilation is Vital

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Assimilation is one of the most critical aspects of any successful immigration system. It determines whether an aspiring migrant will be able to adapt to a nation’s values, laws, and culture. And no, this type of assimilation doesn’t mean that one must throw away all of the cultural heritage that makes a person who they are. Rather, it means that they must reconcile their heritage with the laws and values of the nation they wish to join.

A breaking story in New Hampshire highlights the importance of this concept. According to court records obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader, a prosecutor dropped domestic violence charges against Augustin Bahati, a Congolese refugee, when she unilaterally decided “that he lacked the cultural competency to participate in the American justice system.” In essence, this means that the prosecutor determined Bahati was still so rooted in his old culture – where domestic violence is presumably acceptable – that he was incapable of being legally responsible for violating American domestic abuse laws.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Bahati is originally from, sexual abuse and domestic violence are commonplace. In fact, The DRC is often referred to as “the rape capital of the world.” Throughout the 20-year, ongoing civil war within the republic’s borders, the Brooking’s Institution estimates that as many as 48 rapes occur every hour, largely stemming from members of rival militias. In addition, there are very few laws on the books aimed at protecting women from spousal abuse.

This decision is highly troubling, especially since Bahati’s alleged crimes include “striking, pushing, grabbing, kicking and pulling out the hair” of a woman who was 27 weeks pregnant, according to the Union Leader. What the Manchester prosecutor seems to be saying, is that Bahati’s domestic abuse should be tolerated, because he is new to the United States and still acting according to the moral and legal standards of his native country.

This reasoning makes little sense when all the facts are considered. According to documents obtained from the court, Bahati had already participated in classes designed to help new refugees understand the American legal system, including domestic abuse laws. Bahati should have known better. But even if he didn’t, it makes no difference. In the United States, ignorance of the law has never been considered an adequate defense for a crime.

A responsible immigration system should be aware of the harsh realities in places like the DRC, and should closely vet every applicant, impressing upon them that it is their obligation to adhere to the cultural customs and the laws of this nation. The United States must make it clear that negative cultural practices, such as abuse and sexual violence will not be tolerated here. Such a system weeds out the bad apples and allows us to (in a responsible manner) offer visas and/or refugee status to displaced men, women and children at risk of abuse, instead of the individuals who are responsible for inflicting it.

The American immigration system failed the alleged victims of Augustin Bahati before a prosecutor did, and that’s a shame. If we are unwilling to adequately vet immigrants and refugees by American legal and cultural standards, then we invite with open arms the trouble that is collapsing their home countries. Assimilation isn’t about imposing homogeneity, as critics often charge. It is about maintaining the core values that make this a nation that people want to live in. And, as the Bahati case indicates, it’s required to ensure public safety.

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About Author

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Spencer joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2015. He conducts research, and writes content for FAIR’s publications and website. He brings previous experience in state politics, gubernatorial and district campaigns, and D.C. political non-profits. Spencer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

32 Comments

  1. avatar
    Robert PITTMAN on

    I’m a patriot and a law abiding citizen, I served my country and I am a marine that is discussed at what this country is becoming. The tyrants that are supposed to be leading this country are out of control. They need to do what they were voted in for. They forget what they promised to the ones who voted them into there position. We have a President that wants to make America great again, like it was in the 50’s and 60,s. we never had to lock our doors at night, never had to lock our car doors. People respected people. Our government is into our business entirely too much. They have forgotten that they are servents to the people who pay there taxes and pay their wages every month. They make more then any middle class and some upper class. I say cut their wages and threaten their jobs when the act as this prosecuting attorney has is this case of domestic violence crime! Yes CRIME, he broke our laws and they didn’t follow the laws that they created to keep the Americans of this country safe from violent crimes. God help this country and be with us to remember this when we go to the voting booth. Vote them out and get someone in these positions that care about the America people, THEY WORK FOR THE AMERICAN LAW ABIDING CITZEN. We don’t work for them, we hired them to do the job required and if not, “you’re fired” Let’s make America great again!!!!!!!!!

    • avatar

      The New Hampshire prosecutor should be fired for incompetence and then put in jail for obstruction of justice.

    • avatar
      Timothy Reinhard on

      Live Free or Die, what about the law abiding Americans ? Liberal Mass has made its intrusion into a once balanced State. Removal and jailed for incompetence!

  2. avatar

    Perhaps best would have been bring in a girl champion in wrestling and have her beating him up….to get a taste what we stand so that a humiliation males him realize this is not a country for him………

  3. avatar

    Why on earth do we need rubbish like miscreants from Congo being foisted onto the USA. This is why we need anarchy; need to drag all of the elected class and every last government employee into the streets and snuff them. They are all worthless pond scum bent on pursuing their “Society Building” agenda so they can pat themselves on the back while they participate in the needless, senseless persecution and murder of AMERICANS. It is well past time for another AMERICAN REVOLUTION. “We” are okay but a bunch of “THEM” need to be gotten rid of by any means…….. !

  4. avatar

    The prosecutor should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a criminal. And as long as we continue to accept this from liberals it will continue to happen.

  5. avatar

    The prosecutor lacks the cultural competency to function under the American system of justice! Can we take her citizenship away??? That’s absolutely crazy insane!

  6. avatar

    American’s are sick to death of two sets of laws. One for illegals and one for native Americans. It will get to the point that Americans will begin taking the law into tbeir own hands when an illegal attacks a Native American’s pregnant wife and the injustice system does NOTHING but excuse it!

  7. avatar
    Glenn Shannon on

    If that is acceptable then the Muslim’s will be able to carry on like they do in their country. So rape is not a crime with them of women that are not Muslims nor is wife beatings along with a lot of others.

    • avatar
      DON SCHEHRER on

      any one that visits our country or an immigrant legal or illegal is visiting or living in our country, MUST BE LEGALLY BOUND TO FOLLOW OUR LAWS AND SHOUT NOT BE ABLE TO SKIRT OUR LAWS.
      IN THIS CASE TO GET OUT OF A SERIOUS CHARGE IN USA, DUE TO RULES OF A FOREIGN COUNTRY. THIS IS INSANE AND MUST GET RESOLVED. ALL CURRENT RESIDENTS EITHER LIBERAL OF CONSERVATIVE MUST GET OUR CURRENT LAWS ACCEPTED FOR LEGAL OR ILLEGAL IMIGRANTS STAYING IN OUR COUNTRY. IT IS ABSURD THIS PERSON WAS NOT PROSECUTED UNDER OUR LAWS FOLLOWED BY ALL PEOPLE THAT ARE IN USA OF ANY DENOMINATION. OUR LAWS SHOULD NOT BE WAIVER, ANY AND ALL RESIDNTS OR VISITORS MUST FOLLOW OUR LAWS. IT IS INSAINTY TO NOT BE BOUND BY ALL OF OUR LAWS.

    • avatar

      THE LAW’S OF OUR CONSTITUTION REGARDING IMMIGRATION THAT IS NOT BEING ENFORCED IS THAT ALL IMMIGRANTS & REFUGEE’S ARE TO LEARN OUR LAW’S & FOLLOW THEM! AMERICAN’S ARE NOT ALLOWED IGNORANCE OF THE LAW TO BE AN EXCUSE! THEREFORE, WHY IS OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLOWING IT FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT’S & REFUGEE’S! THE LEGAL TAX PAYING CITIZEN’S ARE FORCED TO FOLLOW OUR LAW’S & THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED IGNORANCE OF THE LAW’S AS AN EXCUSE! SO WHY IS THE LAW ALLOWING IT FOR NON CITIZEN’S! THE LAW ENFORCEMENT WORK’S FOR US ESPECIALLY JUDGES! THIS JUDGE IS NOT PRACTICING NOR ENFORCING WHAT HE WAS HIRED FOR & WAS TRAINED TO DO! THIS JUDGE NEED’S TO GET OFF THE BENCH! AND I TOTALLY AGREE THIS PERSON & PEOPLE LIKE THEM NEED TO BE DEPORTED BACK TO THEIR OWN COUNTRIES WHERE THEY FIT IN!!!!!!

  8. avatar

    That is hard to tell when out of 40+ states you have a few blue states supporting the whole country……just a Fact……….California, NY etc etc etc

    • avatar

      Your comment makes absolutely zero sense considering the subject matter. What’s hard to tell exactly? So California is supporting the whole country eh? That must be why California also receives the most federal aid huh?

    • avatar

      California has a State debt of over 461 Billion dollars and growing. Illinois’ is 155 Billion. And growing. New York’s is 63 Billion and climbing.
      So, please, Peter, explain how your ‘blue states’ are supporting the other’s? (I can’t find a “blue” state without debt. But I CAN find ‘red’ one’s without any!)

    • avatar

      California has the MOST illegal aliens in the country, and the MOST welfare recipients of any state, thirty percent of whom live in households headed by illegal aliens. California now has a rate of poverty exceeding states such as Michigan and its k-12 public schools now rank in the bottom third, lower than those of West Virginia. It’s been a long time since California was truly the “Golden State”.

      • avatar

        You’re correct. When you consider the “true” poverty index, which is wages against cost of living, California is first in the poverty rate of the entire country. People simply cannot afford housing there.