Soufian asked this Friday off at the strawberry farm where he works in Huelva to get up early and catch a bus to Madrid. Since his residence card expired, the young Moroccan waits with uncertainty for the answer to his request to renew his work permit. He does not comply with the complicated requirements imposed and he knows that the solution to his problem lies in the reform of the Immigration regulations, which aims to facilitate the labor inclusion of these kids. But since July, the measure has been in a drawer after the obstacles imposed by the Ministry of Fernando Grande-Marlaska to one of the star projects of the Minister of Inclusion, José Luis Escrivá.
Escrivá proposes a reform of the Immigration regulations so that 15,000 migrant minors and ex-ward youth are not left without papers
That is why he and 400 other kids, most of them coming from different parts of the country, have stood on Friday in front of the Ministry of the Interior to demand the unblocking of a measure on which their future in Spain depends. “Reform now! Reform now!” Hundreds of ex-ward youth have shouted, accompanied by different organizations such as the Coordinadora de Barrios or Pueblos Unidos. “Who picks the tomato? Without papers! Who picks the strawberry? Without papers!”, They have claimed.
“We come to study! We want to work!” Sang 20-year-old Mohamed, along with the rest of his classmates. He has come by bus from Granada, the city where he has lived for a year with a Spanish family that opened the doors of their house to him after living eight months on the streets of Alicante, once he was 18 years old. Although the regional governments are obliged to regularize unaccompanied foreign minors who are under their guardianship, they do not always comply with this procedure. What pushes them to an irregular administrative situation once they have reached the age of majority. The reform of the Immigration regulations also aimed to solve this type of situation.
“I need papers to be able to work. I’ve been in Spain for three years, but I can’t work. I need it to get a future,” says Mohamed. “Since last year they have been talking about this reform, they say that it will be easier to get the papers, but it never comes,” he adds, together with his partner Sala, whom he has met on the bus in which he has arrived in Madrid from Granada. . He just turned 18, arrived in Spain a year ago and left the juvenile center without papers. As he tells it, some slogans intoned in the concentration make those present laugh: “Marlaska, jump the fence!”.
“In the field they only give us temporary contracts but, to renew the residence and work card, they ask me for a longer contract and many requirements. Many colleagues have already been denied renewal. I am afraid that it will happen to me. What would I do? “Soufian wonders. His compatriot Ayoub has already accumulated 1,400 hours of internships, but although he has papers, he is not authorized to work. “I have come to Madrid to ask for our right, we need this reform of the Immigration regulations so that they change all those impossible requirements that hold back our future.” Ayoub was tutored in Melilla for two years, staying in the center of La Purísima, so he could have obtained nationality. But the government of the autonomous city, on which his protection depended, did not manage it, explains his lawyer, Marta Sánchez-Brillas of the NGO Pueblos Unidos.
Khadija, 19, also migrated to Melilla when she was a manor without any family member to accompany her. She does not scream for her, she says, since she has already obtained the papers and has a work permit, but has come to Madrid to support the many colleagues who, once they have reached the age of majority, are pushed into irregularity.
Before the rally, Khadija, Soufian, Ayoub, and another young ex-ward held a meeting with the Ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán. “I have told you that they are necessary. I do want to emphasize this. There are people who believe that the problems of this society are fixed with surgical procedures for the expulsion of foreign citizens. It is not true. Foreign citizens occupy the jobs that we Spaniards have been leaving over the last few years. They are necessary “, stressed the Defender at the end of the meeting. “This society, if it did not have an important nucleus of foreign citizens, would have many difficulties. Therefore, they should feel proud. What the Spanish should do is resolve some issues that hinder their presence here,” added Marugán, who asked the Government that soon fixes the blocking of the reform of the Immigration regulations, which includes the recommendations made by your institution for years.
The Ministry of Inclusion planned to approve in July the reform of the Immigration regulations, which aimed to lower a good part of the requirements demanded of foreign adolescents under guardianship through the reduction of the deadlines set to get the papers, the reduction of economic requirements, help for their access to the labor market and increasing the validity of their residence permits.
The department led by Escrivá calculated that the reform would benefit in a short period of time 8,000 migrant minors who arrived alone in Spain and around 7,000 ex-ward young people, between 18 and 23 years old, who could benefit from the new regulations retroactively, according to the calculation made by the Secretary of State for Migration. However, the reluctance raised by the Ministry of the Interior ended in the postponement of the approval of the measure. According to sources from the Ministry of Inclusion, the text of the reform will be approved without modifications. The date is still in the air.