Row flares over immigrant plan
23 August 2004, MADRID – The row over the Spanish government's plans to offer legal recognition to illegal immigrants with jobs blew up on Monday.
23 August 2004
MADRID – The row over the Spanish government's plans to offer legal recognition to illegal immigrants with jobs blew up on Monday.
The Socialist administration is to offer amnesty to immigrants who are already living in Spain and who have a contract of employment.
It also plans to stop using its navy to turn back the boat-loads of illegal immigrants, transported by human traffickers, who land on Spanish soil from Africa on an almost daily basis.
The controversial plan will start from next month.
The opposition has criticised the plan, claiming it will mean Spain is out of step with the rest of Europe.
Mariano Rajoy, opposition Partido Popular (PP) leader, said: "I think this is very serious and we are asking the government to answer questions in parliament.
"It is very dangerous and in fact they do not do this in any other country in Europe."
Rajoy claimed that the government had committed a "grave error".
He added that it sent out the message that in Spain "anything goes" and it had undone all efforts to regulate immigration.
But Consuelo Rumi, the immigration minister, said Monday the government rejected claims that the new plans meant it had bowed to pressure to give "papers for all" illegal immigrants.
Rumi hit back, saying the government wanted to uncover the hidden economy in which many immigrants without legal status work in Spain.
She said it also wanted to undue some of the problems created by the previous PP government and regulate the flow of immigrants.
Rumi denied the government would give legal status to those without work contracts.
But the NGO Alicante Refuge, which works with illegal immigrants who arrive in southern Spain, said criminals had already sold false offers of work to desperate migrants after hearing of the government plans.
Another pressure group, SOS Racism, called on the government to make the new system clear and not to create uncertainty.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news