Cristina Manzanedo: "It's worrying the constant police persecution of the immigrant in our streets"



From your experience, tell us your opinion; what are the principal motivations for people to move, specifically, the refugees and migrants arriving to Spain?

The major part of the people coming to Spain does so due to a lack of work in their original countries and the demand for workers in Europe. Another very important group are refugees, escaping violence and persecution in their countries, which have the right to international protection.

Where are they mostly coming from?

There are 5.7 million foreigners in Spain; 2.4 million come from within the European Community and 3.4 million from outside the EC. Rumania and the United Kingdom are predominant in the EC citizen group in Spain. In the non-EC group the principal countries of origin are Morocco, Ecuador and Colombia.

In the last year, has the number of immigrants crossing the border increased or decreased?

According to the “Anuario de la Inmigración en España 2010” the arrival of immigrants almost ceased in 2010 due to the economic crisis, after a decade of growth, although the predictions say that the country will need foreign labour again in a few years.  In 2010 the number of foreign workers grew only by 6.000, after nearly 100.000 in 2009, 400.000 in 2008 and growth of 500.000 yearly between 2000 and 2007. Also, in 2010, the number of voluntary returns of workers to their countries of origin have compensated the number of on going entries, albeit less than in previous years, resulting in a practically null immigration growth
What do you think is the response of Spain to the migrant population?

The way Spain’s migratory movements are managed establishes a link between migrant entries and the labour market, it also uses a very restrictive system of hiring at origin that has not worked for the past years and results in arrivals of persons in irregular situation. The system is inefficient; I believe that there are other management formulas that would benefit both the emitting and the receiving countries. It is also worrying the constant police persecution of the immigrant in our streets. However, it must be pointed out that the foreign population integration into our society has worked out much better than before, and this can be explained as much by the existing public policies, as by the broadly positive response of the Spanish society to the conviviality with people from other countries.

What should we learn from this reality?

That Spain has changed, it isn’t white any longer, it is mixed race. The persons of foreign extraction are already part of our society and it is in everybody’s interest that they integrate properly into our society. Working towards a cohesive society requires an effort in the part of both, the immigrant population and the receiving one, through the necessary changes in personal and group attitude.