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Zapatero to tackle ‘failing’ immigration system

Published on 11/06/2004

11 June 2004

MADRID – Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is to launch a plan to tackle his country’s immigration problems, it was reported Friday.

Zapatero told Spain’s Cadena Ser radio station the plan would make up for the previous administration’s “apathy, disorganisation and lack of management skills,” given that “thousands of (immigration) forms” are waiting to be processed.

Zapatero was referring to reports that the conservative Popular Party (PP) administration had left more than 300,000 immigration forms unprocessed.

According to these reports, most of the forms were requests to renew residency status and work permits for immigrants already residing legally in Spain.

The prime minister said if Spanish businesses were hiring immigrants but they do not have the papers, “the system is failing”.

The government  plans to “reorganise the system” and is launching a “very intense negotiation process” with the native countries of these immigrants so “adequate agreements that function properly” can be signed.

Zapatero’s statements come four days after police evicted 600 immigrants occupying Barcelona’s cathedral to demand legalisation of their immigration status.

The immigrants, who have organised demonstrations in other Spanish cities, demanded the “unconditional” legalisation of the status of more than 1.2 million people residing in the country without documentation.

But Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said Wednesday “no miraculous solutions exist (for Spain’s immigration problems), and nobody can expect them,” so no extraordinary measures will be enacted.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news