“The externalization of borders generates irregular population bags which can see harmed their fundamental rights”

During the presentation press conference, Cristina Manzanedo, coordinator of the document, confirmed that "the Spanish Border is not neither in Algeciras nor Canarias, it has been moved to the South, is what we call South Border. We assign to the borders' control large amounts of money, technical resources and personnel. Those who come are heroes. Nowadays, the control is made in the transit countries. They are who do this ungrateful job and we are who finance and train them ("eyes that do not see..."), has declared Cristina Manzanedo.

The Jesuit Service to Migrants-Spain has exposed how this fact of externalizing the borders to increase our security and guarantee our freedom causes injustice, insecurity and lack of freedom. "In Spain, the legal frame of the foreigner includes, for example, the right to have an interpreter, to medical assistance if needed, and to a lawyer. All this is the legal frame we defend inside our spaces and does not exist out of our borders", has complaint Cristina.

The Report also takes apart the idea we have in Spain about the African immigrant population, distorted by the images of the pirogues, and tells on first hand the life conditions of the migrants who live "catched", many of them for years, in the South Border.

With this document, the Jesuit Service to Migrants wants to achieve the commitment of our representatives in general in the Euro-Parliament and the European Union, to guarantee the democratic and legal standards in the control of immigration. As well, we want them to defend the rights of the migrant people in their countries of destiny, signing the International Convention for the Rights' Protection of all the Migrant Active People and their families (1990).

The Jesuit Service to Migrants-Spain has also expressed that the Spanish society must be aware of all this situation and of the responsibility that our migration and cooperation policies has in it, and demand to our political representatives not to take measures that cause the infringement of human rights in third countries.

Additional Information

1. Main Points of the document:

Regarding the media image of the pirogue, that usually we superpose to any other news or article about the life of immigrants, the document points out that it affects negatively in the political speech. Even so, although it is spoken of possible "avalanches", the truth is that a thorough analysis of the numbers let us conclude that the presence of the sub-Saharans is not as elevated. In 2008, the resident population in Spain of African origin (from Maghreb or sub-Saharan: 813.958 people) was only 15,6% of our foreign population.

Regarding the Borders Controls, the document complains that borders must be politically controlled and it draws attention over some aspects as:

The paradox of which the Spanish Government and the European Governments invest expensive human and technical means to restrict the African migratory flows, being this a small percentage of the global flows.

The human and technical systems, effective in the European Union and Spain, for the control of the South Border, raise moral and legal problems that should be politically controlled. For example:

The borders management has been externalized, taking beyond the own geographical limits on earth as well as maritimes. For example, immigrants are intercepted in waters of their own countries, or in waters of third countries, which suppose, in some cases, violations of the international laws (ex: right to abandon the own country, right to ask for asylum).
Not always are respected legal guarantees foreseen in the Spanish and European Union legal order for people trying to enter our territory: right to be informed, to legal assistance, to have an interpreter, to turn to the imposed measure...

The reduction of the migratory flows of Algeria and Morocco has had as a consequence the intensification of the Libyan and oriental routes. Although the migratory pressure on Spain is smaller, has considerably increased the dangerousness of the migratory path, as we could verify in the shipwrecks of the Libyan route that gathered the newspapers on early April.
On the last frame agreements of migratory cooperation between the Spanish State and other African countries (Africa Plan), the reinstatement of the nationals is regulated by the Contracting Parts, but it draws the attention into the absence in such agreements of binding references for due protection of the human rights.

Although Spain has highly increased the Development Aid Funds for the sub-Saharan Africa, the cooperation agreements are linked to the flows control and the readmission of migrants.

Regarding the life conditions of the "catched" people. Denounces that the migrants bet in North African countries live in the shortage and legal insecurity: they can't find a job, they live crowd together, due to their irregular condition they have no access to the sanitary and educative services, they cannot open bank accounts, neither register any changes in their civil status, nor the birth of their children..... Some of them are "catched" for three or four years.

The detentions and expulsions of sub-Saharan immigrates in the African environment of the South European Border, which are usual since 2005, are random and several times respond to external factors, as visitors of European authorities, massive arrivals to the Canary Islands or police blows against drugs.
They are determined to follow ahead: immigrants that wait in the border to be able to cross to Spain, they are hardly going to resign to their migratory project ("Once you begin the way, there is not return back. You are not the only one that emigrates but your family and your town"; "I will try to go to Spain as much times as I can because here there is nothing and I cannot watch my family like this, dying without trying anything", are some of the testimonies).

Regarding the injustices that bring out the measures that increase our freedom and guarantee our security:

Inside the borders, scopes of insecurity and injustice are also generated. The restriction of the regular migratory ways and the increasing obstacles to administrative regularisation, they harden the life conditions of the immigrants and even they begin to place besides the law those people who give humanitarian help to them.

The context of actual economic crisis, the loss of work, the difficulty to quote to the social security, they expose to not being able to renew work permissions and residence to those immigrants who already live in our country. But from this it is not deduced the return but the survival planning until they have access once again to their legal condition.

The measures destined to increase our security and to guarantee our freedom causes injustice, insecurity and lack of freedom. The document notices that the spaces of freedom, security and justice of the Europeans are at the lack of freedom, insecurity and injustice, among others expenses, of the immigrants of the South Border.

2. What are the requests of the SJM-E to the European Parliament?

From all the above, the SJM-E ask the euro-parliamentarians:

  1. To fit the political speech on the African migrations to the real data and not to a social imaginary distorted by the communication media.
  2. Make effective, in the use of its competences, the global focus about migrations in the international treatments that sign the European Union and its States members with African countries:
    1. Developing effective channels for legal migration.
    2. Watching the coherence of the cooperation and development policies, especially when they are linked to migrations, so that the aid of the development based on the migratory flow control is not exploited.
  3. To meticulously watch the safeguard of the legal guarantees in the migration controls, beyond the European Union Borders, especially for people needed of international protection.
  4. Intensify their fight against human trade networks and human trafficking, making emphasis in its disarticulation inside and outside the European Union borders, watching over the more vulnerable people of not being harmed.
  5. To revert all the policies that break the spaces for freedom, security and justice in the external or internal European Union Borders environment, so that fundamental human rights already recognised in the communitarian laws and the laws of the State Members are not being harmed.
  6. Reinforce the migrant population rights of protection promoting the ratification of the International Convention for the protection of the rights of all active migrants and their families (1990).