Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Immigration Makes Waves

In May I wrote about the attempts by African immigrants to reach the Canary Islands by boat from West Africa, and despite all the efforts of the Spanish government to close the exit points the flow of immigrants arriving in the islands has not significantly changed during the summer. One of the images of the holiday period has been that of sunbathing tourists coming to the assistance of exhausted immigrants as they finally make it to dry land.

The issue is also provoking political dispute on the mainland, regions which are controlled politically by the Partido Popular have been complaining that they are receiving the majority of those immigrants that are flown from the islands to the peninsula. Those immigrants who cannot be returned home because no repatriation agreement exists with their country of origin, are served with an expulsion order which cannot be enforced and taken to the mainland in an attempt to reduce the pressure of so many new arrivals in the Canary Islands. They then exist in a kind of limbo as they do not have papers which permit them to work legally.

When I read the news of these protests I felt sure that I could remember that when the Partido Popular (PP) was in power they were also flying the vast majority of these immigrants to areas such as Madrid, Valencia, or Murcia that already contained high immigrant populations. Well now I have found an article on the web confirming this and, interesting detail, it seems that the pioneer of this policy was none other than Mariano Rajoy when he was the interior minister; he is of course now the leader of the opposition PP. I assumed at the time that the PP did this because they knew that many of these immigrants would end up working illegally in these areas. Anyway, if the leaders of these regions want to complain about the policy they now have a much easier option than before, they can pick up the phone and complain directly to the leader of their own political party.

Thanks to El rey de la baraja for the link.


rufus said...

No matter how many ships, fences or high tech gadgets we use to keep this people away... As long we do not take appropiate measures in the direction of increasing employment and economy in the origin countries, We will see more and more people coming -and dying- in our coast.

Graeme said...

A minimum starting point should be to stop doing things that damage employment and the economy in these countries - the European Union buys up fishing rights along the African coast because of overfishing in Europe. Then the local people who are no longer allowed to fish their own waters put their boats to other uses - shipping people to Europe.