Monday, December 4

Immigration, votes and dehumanization

While the right-wing parties, and especially the extreme right, know how to capitalize on votes with their anti-immigration speeches, the left-wing parties prefer not to touch this issue much, as they only see problems. “Immigration does not give votes”, they think and affirm in their closest circles, the leaders of the left when they govern. The experience with the PSOE is that its immigration policies, when it has governed since 1985, have reinforced the leading role of the Ministry of the Interior with decisions antagonistic to respect for human rights: externalization of borders, the Shame Directive, the creation of CIE, the detention quotas, the deportation of foreigners to third countries, the restrictions on the freedom of movement of asylum seekers when they are in Ceuta or Melilla… The Socialist party has too many stains on its service record in immigration matters that neither the extraordinary regularization of Zapatero nor the rescue of the Aquarius manage to clean it up.

It is undeniable that migration crises are one of the most complicated and controversial issues that a government can face. Hence the need for this to be addressed from the logic of human rights and in a planned manner, with resources and in coordination, taking into account the global causes of migratory movements, offering regional responses and seeking joint decision-making among all the agents that intervene from the cooperation and respect for the life and integrity of migrants. It is essential that the view of people on the move is based on respect for the international commitments that Spain has in terms of human rights.

President Sánchez asked, last Wednesday on Cadena Ser, that we have greater empathy with the Moroccan gendarmerie. It is hard to decide what arouses more anger, these words or those he said a few hours after the tragic event at the Melilla fence with that “well resolved” that had claimed the lives of more than thirty people. It does not matter if I had not seen the images, what happens at the borders can never be described as “well resolved” unless national security is more concerned than human security. He confused, and confuses, Pedro Sánchez empathy with sympathy. When human rights violations are committed, and Amnesty International in these events has already detected at least eight, it is not with the perpetrators that we have to show empathy or ask to be shown empathy, unless what we are being asked to do is not to anger the “Moroccan friend” and show them our sympathy by ignoring what they do with the people, even if they pile them up like sacks of potatoes regardless of the fact that they are human lives, bury them without identifying them and deny them the right to truth, justice and reparation, try them for trafficking in human beings (unheard of) in dubious procedural conditions or harass them to the limit and push them into the desert to show up dead as happened in 2018.

It is with the victims of this criminal action and their families that we must not only show empathy or express condolences, but also offer a credible and serious commitment that something like this will not happen again. But neither Pedro Sánchez nor United We Can, being in government, can risk affirming something like this and carrying it out because immigration does not give votes among left-wing voters, only problems.

I have doubts as to whether this ruling left is reflecting, not the one that is self-opposing, that this issue, in these circumstances, what it can do is take away votes and, above all, subtract that necessary credibility so that, beyond putting a piece of paper in a ballot box, voters row for you in day-to-day conversations when the wind is very against you.

It is not too late for this government to focus its efforts, from the different ministries, so that the approach of “human security” and not that of “national security” prevails in its immigration policies. The “human security” approach as the basis of a model that places the protection of people and their rights at the center. A “human security”, which, as the UN rightly points out, must serve to protect three types of freedoms: the freedom of people against fear (both threats and physical and direct violence), the freedom of people against misery (that is, to unemployment, poverty, disease…) and the freedom of people from indignity (including exclusion, exploitation and discrimination). An approach is good for everyone and that, despite the fact that it has been outlined in some strategies of the current government, in light of what happened, the last NATO summit and the agreements on migration policy of the European Union, It seems like another act of hypocrisy. Of that cynicism of that class of politicians who believe that to survive either you have to empathize with the strong or you just have to make policies and laws that can give votes. A way of governing that conjugates well, also, with the verb “dehumanize”.