[Stop-traffic] News/Spain: (2 articles) Spain clamps down on illegal immigrants, 30,000 face expulsion

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Spain: (2 articles) Spain clamps down on illegal immigrants, 30,000 face expulsion
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Jan 31 2001 - 09:18:54 EST


Great - so anti-trafficking laws are being used to crack down on the
rights of migrant workers. Another unintended consequence..

"Aimed at human trafficking and the parallel economy, the law also removes
the right of association, protest and strike of migrant workers."

melanie...

Spain clamps down on illegal immigrants, 30,000 face expulsion
By Denis Teyssou
Agence France Presse, January 22, 2001

MADRID (AFP) -- Spain will on Tuesday put into force a new, tougher law on
immigration, that could see the expulsion of more than 30,000 people who
entered the country illegally and lack official documents.

But the measure, which Spain asserts will bring it into line with European
Union legislation, has already prompted a group of 265 immigrants camped
out in a church in northeastern Spain to launch a hunger strike in protest.

Immigrants' rights groups complain the measures will put an end to Spain's
progressive status under previous legislation, adopted in December 1999.

Madrid immigration lawyer Fernando Olivan has said the new law was "more
restrictive" and would put an end to the dreams of migrants to live and
work in Europe.

"The government had to change the law, but they're killing flies with
cannon balls," Olivan told AFP, adding that the new rules would only build
tension between immigrants and the Madrid government.

The law reinstitutes a procedure to immediately expel migrants living in
Spain without any paperwork, which authorities insist has become a "serious
situation."

Aimed at human trafficking and the parallel economy, the law also removes
the right of association, protest and strike of migrant workers.

Officials estimate that around 30,000 immigrants who unsuccessfully applied
for residency or work permits in the spring of 2000 could be expelled under
the new legislation.

Spain, a southern doorway into Europe, has battled the burgeoning problem
of illegal human trafficking for more than a year, with thousands arrested
up and down its Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.

The country hosts around 940,000 foreigners -- or around 2.5 percent of the
population -- with proper paperwork, but around 200,000 without any legal
documents.

In Barcelona, about 500 Pakistanis, Russians, Ecuadorans, Indians and
Moroccans took shelter in the church of Santa Maria del Pi -- with the
priest's approval -- on Saturday.

But about half of the protesters were forced to leave because of a lack of
space.

Spokeswoman Norma Falconi said the hunger strike undertaken by the 265
remaining in the church would go on indefinitely.

Other would-be immigrants have also taken over churches in other parts of
the country to protest the new laws.

Late Sunday, around 100 illegal immigrants, mostly Ecuadorans, started a
55-kilometre (33-mile) protest march from the town of Fuente Alamo to
Murcia in the southeast, calling for their status to be officially improved.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said Sunday that Spain needed immigrants,
but only those with legal status.

"It is one thing to have to solve the problem of illegal immigration ...
but to give the same rights to both legal and illegal immigrants, that is
something unthinkable," he said at a meeting of his ruling right-wing
Popular Party.

"If we do not prepare the way for legal immigration, it will be very
difficult to have an immigration policy," he said, echoing government
sentiments that the previous law only served to attract illegal migrants.

But amid the change in the law, immigrants appeared to be continuing to
pour in.

An immigrant of north African origin died early Sunday and five others
remained missing after a boat ferrying them across the Strait of Gibraltar
capsized, rescue services said.

The boat, which was carrying 11 people, overturned some three nautical
miles off the southern port of Tarifa. Five passengers were rescued.

Spanish officials said they had arrested 48 other north Africans overnight,
shortly after they had reached Spanish soil on two boats.

Numerous Africans try to make the trip across the 14-kilometer (eight-mile)
wide strait from Morocco.

_________________
Immigrants launch hunger strike in Spain to protest new laws
Agence France Presse, January 21, 2001

BARCELONA, Spain (AFP) -- A group of 265 immigrants camped out in a church
in northeastern Spain have launched a hunger strike to protest a new
immigration law, their spokeswoman said Sunday.

They are protesting a new law in Spain, set to take effect on Tuesday, that
could see the expulsion of more than 30,000 people who entered the country
illegally and lack official documents.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said Sunday that Spain needed immigrants,
but only those with legal status.

"It is one thing to have to solve the problem of illegal immigration ...
but to give the same rights to both legal and illegal immigrants, that is
something unthinkable," he said at a meeting of the ruling right-wing
Popular Party.

"If we do not prepare the way for legal immigration, it will be very
difficult to have an immigration policy," he said.

Spain has battled the burgeoning problem of illegal human trafficking for
more than a year, with thousands arrested up and down its Mediterranean and
Atlantic coasts.

In Barcelona, about 500 Pakistanis, Russians, Ecuadorans, Indians and
Moroccans took shelter in the church of Santa Maria del Pi -- with the
priest's approval -- on Saturday.

But about half of the protesters were forced to leave because of a lack of
space.

Spokeswoman Norma Falconi said the hunger strike would go on indefinitely.

Other would-be immigrants have also taken over churches in other parts of
the country to protest the new laws.

Late Sunday around 100 illegal immigrants, mostly Equador, started a
55-kilometre (33-mile) protest march from the town of Fuente Alamo to
Murcia in the southeast, calling for their status to be officially improved.

Elsewhere, an immigrant of north African origin died early Sunday and five
others remained missing after a boat ferrying them across the Strait of
Gibraltar capsized, rescue services said.

The boat, which was carrying 11 people, overturned some three nautical
miles off the southern port of Tarifa. Five passengers were rescued.

Spanish officials said they had arrested 48 other north Africans overnight,
shortly after they had reached Spanish soil on two boats.

Numerous Africans try to make the trip across the 14-kilometer (eight-mile)
wide strait from Morocco.

Melanie Orhant

Stop-Traffic Moderator
http://www.stop-traffic.org

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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