Wednesday, October 27

Escrivá plans to toughen reception requirements for migrants arriving by boat

The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration plans to toughen the criteria for welcoming migrants who arrive on Spanish coasts. In the event of a migratory peak, Minister José Luis Escrivá plans to “prioritize” people who, based on new requirements, are considered “really vulnerable,” as confirmed by the Secretary of State for Migration. Their plans are to leave healthy single men from countries with which Spain has a current repatriation agreement without a humanitarian reception place.

400 ex-ward migrants gather in front of the Interior to ask for the unblocking of the reform of the Immigration regulations

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The first instruction with which Escrivá sought to restrict the reception of newcomers was approved last Monday, but its consequences pushed the Ministry to back down in less than 24 hours. On the first day of its application, nine people were left on the street. The next day, 39 Moroccans were going to be affected, as confirmed by the Granada City Council, which began to prepare to find emergency accommodation for them, until Migrations backed out.

“Once these modifications have been put into practice, it has been observed that their implementation can generate distortions and unwanted negative effects in the process of access to Humanitarian Attention Reception places, so it is advisable to suspend their implementation,” acknowledges the letter to which you have accessed this medium. The Secretary of State for Migration, however, assures that it is a temporary stoppage of instruction and the Ministry maintains the intention of applying the new requirements, since the “suspension responds only” to the need for more “time” to “agree on internal protocols before starting to apply it”.

Two goals

The suspended instruction, accessed by, has two objectives. On the one hand, the Ministry excludes healthy single men from those countries with which the Government has a repatriation agreement, although this is not being applied due to reluctance or restrictions in their countries of origin, as is currently the case. in the case of Moroccans, Algerians or Senegalese.

“The beneficiaries of humanitarian reception resources will be those migrants in a situation of vulnerability, asylum seekers and nationals of countries with which there is no repatriation agreement in force,” establishes the paralyzed order, sent on Monday, September 20 to the entities and centers that are part of the state humanitarian care system. According to the letter, the Ministry understands people in a situation of vulnerability “to be single women, women with children, sick people, people with disabilities, and other vulnerabilities detected in the screening carried out” after their disembarkation. State places will also be able to receive “nationals of countries with which there is no repatriation agreement”, to which the Government cannot return to their countries of origin.

Inclusion also seeks to “prioritize” the care of “especially vulnerable” migrants in case there are not enough places. Thus, Migrations aims to establish an order by which “single women, women with children, sick people, people with disabilities and other detected vulnerabilities” will be welcomed first after disembarking. Secondly, the service network will receive asylum seekers and, finally, “nationals of countries with which there is no repatriation agreement”.

The Ministry makes it clear that “only people who are included in any of the indicated categories will be referred to reception places” and following the “order of priority”.

“In view of the situation of saturation of the network of places of the Humanitarian Attention Program due to the increase of more than 200% in arrivals by coasts in 2021”, explains the instruction, the Secretary of State “proceeds to establish criteria to prioritize access to reception places “. The objective, according to Migrations, is “to guarantee care for people in vulnerable situations and an adequate management of reception resources in each territory.”

Effects of a day of instruction

Last Monday, the group Emergencia Frontera Sur received a notice from the Motril City Council: nine Moroccan men who arrived by boat at the port of the Andalusian town had stayed on the street, instead of being temporarily housed by the state reception system , managed by the Ministry of Inclusion, as usual. They were warned that history would repeat itself the next day, when 39 Maghreb migrants were expected to leave the Motril Temporary Attention Center for Foreigners. They also had no place to stay.

The first nine people were assisted by the Southern Border Emergency. The Granada City Council began to prepare to serve the other 39 people, sources from the Town Hall confirm. Álvaro López reports. “Then I don’t know under what circumstances, I don’t know what would happen, but suddenly the Red Cross took them away,” says Antonia Franco, spokesperson for the Southern Border Emergency in Motril. Although the activist did not know it, the reason was in the instruction approved on September 20 by Inclusion and its subsequent suspension.

Several organizations that are part of the state humanitarian assistance system have shown their concern about the possibility that the Government will reactivate the instruction and, in practice, exclude people of certain nationalities from the reception network. The director of Andalucía Acoge, José Miguel Morales, warns of the effects of the activation of the instruction. “It can lead us to the situation that existed during the years 2017, 2018 and earlier, which in practice caused hundreds of men to remain wandering the streets, asking for money to continue their journey,” he warned. The situation, in addition to leaving the affected migrants homeless, can generate “social alarms in certain cities,” he warns. It would be, according to Morales, “a step backwards.”

The Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid celebrates the suspension of the instruction, but asks the Ministry not to continue with its plans to toughen the requirements: “The humanitarian care protection system cannot discriminate based on nationalities but rather on vulnerability of the people who take advantage of these resources “, explains Estrella Galán, general secretary of the NGO.

The Secretary of State for Migration insists that the exclusion is not based on nationality, since Escrivá’s plans can especially affect Maghreb citizens. “There may be vulnerable single Maghrebians. It is not a matter of nationality, but of ensuring that the state system, which must ensure humanitarian assistance to those who need it, reaches those who need it,” they say.