1 December 2003
MADRID – Unions and human rights groups launched a campaign Monday to help the half million illegal immigrants who are living and working in Spain.
The non-profit agencies, Ari-Peru and the Centre for the Defence and Study of Human Rights, as well as Spain’s labour union CGT, are to press Parliament to help those who are forced to work in the “black” or unofficial economy.
Campaign organisers criticised proposed law reforms which will make it compulsory for immigrants from many countries to get visas before they come to Spain.
The law change, which starts in February, will not affect those from the European Union.
The petition demanded “immediate” measures to help immigrants to get their residence and work permits, and “the recognition of their rights as human beings”.
The organisers said even illegal immirants are entitled to equal rights, regardless of their national origin, and that a society that discriminates “is degrading in itself and provokes social conflicts”.
Illegal immigration has become a huge issue in Spain in recent years.
Every month thousands of Africans spend large sums of money paying gangs to take them in small, danergous dinghies across the 14 kilometre Strait of Gibraltar, separating Spain from Morocco.
Others sail west from Morocco to the Canary Islands.
The Spanish government revealed Monday that between January 2002 and October this year, 10,000 immigrants were transported from the Canary Islands to the cities like Madrid and Valencia on the Spanish mainland while they awaited expulsion.
The expulsion orders stopped them from working legally and forced them to seek work in the so-called “black economy” where wages are notoriously low.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news