Foreigners ‘faceracism in Spain’
21 April 2004
MADRID – Foreigners living in Spain have had their rights and liberties damaged by law changes brought in by the last government, a pressure group claimed Wednesday.
SOS Racism attacked changes made to laws governing foreigners which were introduced by the conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar.
They appealed to the new Socialist administration to reform the law which they claim has led to more than one million foreigners ‘disappearing’ in the system.
The law change was designed to stop illegal immigration, but the group claims it has forced many legal immigrants to ‘hide’ from the system for fear of being deported.
In their annual report, the group claimed the legal changes had led to a rise in racism.
Isabel Martínez Luna, of SOS Racism, said the legal changes had led to many foreigners “falling into the hands of mafias” in order to find work.
They had no other route to become legal citizens and had been deprived of their rights.
She said that at least a million people were in this “shameful” situation which could not be resolved until the law was reformed.
Two basic changes have allowed police access to city council housing records and allowed them to carry out checks on transport companies in an effort to stop illegal immigrants being brought into Spain.
SOS Racism called on the government to allow foreigners to make their situation legal without having to return to their own countries to obtain visas.
They also claimed since the 11 March terrorist attacks there had been a rise in ‘islamaphobia’ in some parts of Spain.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news