Friday, February 3

Escrivá faces a new resignation and changes the person in charge of receiving migrants for the fourth time in two years

The Secretary of State for Migration is once again undergoing new changes. The Ministry of Inclusion has taken this Tuesday to the Council of Ministers the dismissal of Elena Biurrun, the until now general director of International Protection and Humanitarian Attention Programs, who has presented her resignation after less than three months of her arrival in office, who it will be occupied by Myriam Benterrak. This is the fourth dismissal that affects this position, key in immigration policy, since Minister José Luis Escrivá formed his team two years ago.

According to a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State for Migration, Biurrun, who was also Escrivá’s chief of staff for almost two years, is leaving public office for a “new and irrefutable project” in the private sphere. The former director of Humanitarian Care has explained through her social networks that she is changing stages and starting a new challenge at the Manantial Foundation, specialized in mental health. “Wishing that many more be added to the achievements made, she left the project with the pride of having participated hand in hand with such extraordinary and unique people”, she stated.

Biurrun replaced Maite Pacheco in the leadership of the general management, whose dismissal occurred “at her own request for personal reasons” after remaining in office for eleven months, according to the Secretary of State for Migration. Various socialist sources then pointed to disagreements between Pacheco and Minister Escrivá as the cause of his departure.

The dismissal of his predecessor, Francisco Dorado, was justified by the Ministry as a “strategic” restructuring, which required a profile like Pacheco’s to lead the reform of the reception system for asylum seekers in Spain, which seeks to put an end to a format based mainly on grants to NGOs to be replaced by a competitive bidding system. However, two general directors have already left their posts without completing the project, in a context of evident instability in the institution.

At the end of April 2020, during the state of alarm, Irune Aguirrezabal also resigned as leader of another of the department’s key areas, the General Directorate of Migration. Sources close to his team also mention discrepancies with the then Secretary of State, Hana Jalloul, as the reason for his withdrawal. Aguirrezabal was replaced by Santiago Yerga, who until now was director of Humanitarian Attention, the area that has not stopped undergoing changes to its equipment since then.

The Council of Ministers approved on Tuesday the appointment of Myriam Benterrak as the new general director of international protection and humanitarian assistance programs, who already held the post of deputy director general of the same department of the Ministry of Inclusion in 2020. Since then, she has led the NGDO area in the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation (AECID) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Today she returns to the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration as General Director, with extensive experience in humanitarian assistance, management of migration centers and other programs to promote the inclusion of the immigrant population,” they point out from Migrations. During her time at Migrations in 2020, Benterrak was part of the team that launched the emergency devices in response to the crisis that the Canary Islands went through, among other projects.