Regularizing migrants those absent from a historic meeting in Congress

Regularizing migrants: those absent from a historic meeting in Congress

On December 22, the coalition of more than 600 organizations that make up the Essentials campaign delivered 29 boxes of signatures to the Electoral Census Bureau, supporting the extraordinary regularization of nearly half a million migrants in an irregular situation. The total content of the boxes is 609,630 signatures, more than 20% more than it takes for Parliament to process this People’s Legislative Initiative (ILP) petition. If the parties didn’t go to the mountains, the mountains had to come to them.

The road to this historic achievement of organized civil society has not been easy, I assure you. Adding to the obvious difficulty of obtaining so much support in a procedure as guaranteed as a vote is the extraordinary logistical burden involved in the procedure: receipt and distribution of specifications, collection of signatures in the most varied of circumstances, safe return of the service description, validation by notaries, timely and formal handover to the authorities… A successful ILP is a real miracle even before the parliamentary discussion.

But this one in particular has faced an additional challenge. For the first time in our country’s history, it was the self-organized migrant organizations that took charge of a process of this magnitude. The state-run Regularization Now movement – ​​a diverse group of individuals and organizations born to write their own history – represents a resounding exception in Spain’s political and social landscape, in which the voice and action of migrants has been empowered notice their absence. One in six Spanish residents was born abroad; But how many migrants do you see in political parties, in trade unions, in the media? How many times have you heard a foreign and racialized person discuss their point of view on major public platforms instead of listening to others do it for them?

The contrast with neighboring countries such as France and the United Kingdom is striking. And resistance – even from those working to make this regularization a success – can be fierce, because nobody gives up their space of power that easily (whether they know they have it or not). But that is exactly what makes this process extraordinary. Even before we know the path that the ILP will have in Parliament, we can assure that nothing will be the same after that.

Of course we are here to win the parliamentary struggle as well. Throughout this campaign, we have argued that the ethical, economic, political and public health dimensions of this challenge require a determined institutional response. The Fundación porCausa’s updated estimate (see chart) brings the number of people condemned to live in the shadows in our country to approximately 425,000. This population group – made up largely of women and children of Hispanic descent – ​​is one of the most vulnerable and penalized groups in society. Paradoxically, they are also part of the labor and demographic solution our country needs. The vast majority of adults work in jobs that are unique to them. Their incorporation into the formal labor market would mean a net tax benefit for the system of around €3,250 per legalized worker per year, according to the same estimates.

Regularizing migrants those absent from a historic meeting in Congress

Each of these arguments was recalled this week at the historical seminar organized by the Regularización Ya in the Congress of Deputies, the first event of its kind promoted by a migrant organization. How sarcastic that this solemn act of citizenship should be performed by those who are not recognized as citizens by our institutions. A room to burst with activists, social representatives, ambassadors, journalists and members of some factions. United We Can, along with the coalition of parties supporting the government, are firmly committed to running this ILP.

Not present – not a single one of their 217 MEPs in the plenary hall – were the factions of the PSOE, the People’s Party and Ciudadanos. To be honest, I find it unbearable. One can understand the reasons for supporting or opposing such a measure. What I find intolerable is that they don’t even have the courtesy to come over and hear what their neighbors have to say under the roof of Parliament. I trust that the parliamentary processing of this measure will be received with less arrogance and with more arguments by those who have a duty to behave seriously in serious matters.

Gonzalo Fanjul He is Director of Analysis at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and co-founder of the porCausa Foundation for Research and Journalism.

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