Thursday, June 05, 2008

Illegal Immigration is a Pain to Spain. But is it also making Spain the Gateway to Europe?

Spain granted an amnesty to almost a million illegals three years ago, the largest amnesty in Spain's history. Today, they now have another million illegals, along with a soring crime rate and growing unemployment.

Recently Spain has been attacking Italy's new government, which has been cracking down on illegal immigrants in Italy. More from Soeren Kern at the Brussels Journal:

Why Spain Lectures Other Countries on Immigration
Italian voters in April returned Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to a third term in office. The center-right leader was given a strong mandate to crack down on runaway immigration and spiraling street crime, two hot-button issues that are intrinsically linked, not just in the minds of Italians, but in those of many other Europeans too, especially in Spain.

As a result, Spanish Socialists are (rightly) worried that Berlusconi’s get-tough approach will jeopardize their own fantastical vision of turning Europe into a post-modern multicultural utopia.


Since Spanish Socialists (more often than not) have trouble winning arguments on their own merit, the preferred tactic is to demonize their opponents instead. And so De la Vega’s comments were echoed by the new Spanish Minister for Labor and Immigration, Celestino Corbacho, who felt obliged to accuse Berlusconi of wanting “to criminalize those who are different.”


Apart from the strategic threat that Italy’s immigration crackdown poses to the post-nationalist multicultural vision that Spanish Socialists have for Europe, there are two more practical (and inter-related) reasons why the Socialist Party has latched onto the immigration issue: Domestic politics and fear that the immigrants expelled from Italy will come to Spain instead.

During the recent general election campaign in Spain, survey after survey showed that Spanish voters perceived the center-right Popular Party to be far better equipped than the Socialist Party to tackle the issues of immigration and crime.


As a result, the Socialists are now trying to make these issues their own. But they are doing so by reframing the question of immigration through the use of post-modern word games that give the appearance that they have a more benevolent approach.


By rewarding illegal immigrants with Spanish (and thus European) documentation, Zapatero has unleashed what is known as the “call effect” to people as far away as Kashmir who now believe that Spain is an easy gateway into Europe. [...]

It's quite a dance Spain is doing. The article goes on to give more details of Spain's predicament, and how it fits into immigration in Europe as a whole. The socialists in Spain have been using every trick in the book to vilify their opponents, but it's wearing thin as reality sets in and grates away at the Spanish Public. Their current government sounds like the city council of Berkeley, CA. Strident and hysterical, posturing while lacking real content or ability to accomplish or solve anything.

Lots of high drama in this story, with accusations being hurled. But as the pressure builds, it looks to me like... somethings gotta give. I'll be watching.

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