First of all I wanted to say that this is a very interesting subject to talk about but also a very difficult one.
Secondly I would like to assert that personally I believe immigration is a full right every human being has, We all have to know migration is one of the most antique issues humanity has had to face since history has been written. Different reasons have caused human movements in the past; we can just remember some of them, climate change, wars, famine, politic or religious persecution, economic perspectives, etc. Looking back we can find relevant events related with migrations. Since Germans tribes’ up coming to Roman Empire till the big famine in Ireland or the puritans escaping from England in the May Flower, or Spanish republicans running away from Franco’s persecution.
Talking more specifically about Spain, I wanted to express a few points concerning this topic. Spain has been mostly an emigration country till 15 years ago. Spanish people moved above all for economic and political reasons, being their main host countries European, South American, and few North African countries. That emigration had an important personal cost (uprootedness, family break, cultural lost, etc), and an economic profit for the country itself (savings return, more opportunities for people staying etc). In general ,regarding the way this emigration was we can agree people had rights and obligations in their host countries, and had a big contributions to economic development in itself.
However, for thethe last two decades the situation has become quite the opposite, with lots of newcomers seeking a better life in our country, attracted by the extraordinary good perspectives of our economy.
We all know the roots of this aim for seeking a better life. Basically, the unbalanced level of life perspectives between the countries with economic and political situation strongly different, and of course globalization, that makes the world something nearer and smaller. Besides, there is a big illegal market , mafias moving people around the world .
What is a paradox is that countries like Spain or Ireland traditionally emigration ones in the past, in few years have both become net receptors of migrants; with populations that sometimes blame the immigrants without adequately assessing their participation in the Spanish economic boom. And that’s the problem, not the immigrants themselves.
Both countries have shared this kind of fast economic development with an important component of housing for different reasons. But in the end housing means the need of huge amounts of not very qualified workers. While governments were unable to change the production pattern, the entrepreneurs focusing on the quick benefits of construction showed also no interest in changes. Besides, the banks were expending money without much guarantie, while population living above their possibilities thought the situation would last forever. And everybody knew that it was just impossible , and nobody did anything. To put it shortly, everybody was happy living in this illusion.
Immigrants came here thinking our economic development was stronger than it was, making a big effort leaving their countries, copping with difficulties, trying to settle a better life in Spain. Their contribution was vital, but the way it has been done hasn’t permitted benefits to be shared by the whole society. Low salaries, poor working conditions, inadequate work market regulation with a big increase of black market have been taken by a few to make big profits. Using this just to reduce production costs, making a parallel work market, letting immigrants do the work nobody wanted to do, but doing nothing more with these profits. For instance doing research, training, improving productivity, reducing emissions, changing the production model, etc. Where has all this profit gone? Has it just disappeared or has it gone with the wind?