Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Lessons from Spain: An immigration system 'run amok' and why Canada should pay attention.

Spain has fallen prey to mass immigration and its partner in crime, multiculturalism, and now the country is paying for it. With an immigration system described as being "run amok" Spain found itself granting an amnesty to over 800,000 undocumented workers, and now it is offering to pay unemployed immigrants a lump sum and two years benefits if they return to their home countries. Also, there are growing concerns of race riots amid rising unemployment.

Here is The Brussels Journal on Spain's immigration system.

Spain’s Immigration System Runs Amok – Spain’s Decline

From the desk of Soeren Kern on Wed, 2008-09-17 11:42

More than 920,000 new immigrants arrived in Spain during 2007, according to data just published by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE). This comes on top of the 802,971 new arrivals in 2006, the 682,711 new arrivals in 2005, the 645,844 new arrivals in 2004, and so on. The politically sensitive figures were released during the middle of the summer holidays, presumably in an effort to avoid their detection by the vacationing general public.

All in all, Spain now has a total of 5.2 million immigrants, who make up more than 10 percent of Spain’s population, which has swelled from 40 million in 2000 to just over 46 million as of 1 January 2008. According to the Fundación BBVA [doc] research institute, Spain now has the largest number of immigrants in the developed world after the United States.

Environmentalists take note. Immigration swelled Spain's population well beyond what it would have been naturally. Also, compare Spain's and Canada's foreign born population figures. Immigrants constitute well over 10% of the Spanish population. In Canada that figure is close to 20%, second only to Australia with 22%.

But the biggest significance of the new data is not that there are a lot of new immigrants in Spain, which is perfectly self-evident to everyone in the country. What the fresh numbers show is that there are now over one million new illegal immigrants in Spain; this less than three years after Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero tried to “fix” Spain’s illegal immigration problem by granting the largest blanket amnesty in Spanish history to nearly one million other illegal immigrants.

BBC News has the story of the amnesty here. This paragraph deserves particular attention:

Spain has rejected criticism from the opposition and other European countries that the amnesty makes the country a gateway for illegal immigrants.

Apparently the critics were right as the number of illegals swelled after Spain issued the amnesty. And the smug rejection of the criticism is par for the course here in Canada amongst our ruling elites who ignore, marginalize, or downplay any symptom of a failing immigration system and the social discord as well as the economic discord it is having on the country.

Here's more from the Brussels Journal piece:
At the time of the unilateral amnesty in 2005, Zapatero, who never misses an opportunity to preach about the merits of multilateralism, earned public rebukes from leaders of most of the major European countries, who said the amnesty would cause a surge in illegal immigration. For example, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: “We see the damage caused by the phenomenon of massive regularization. Every country which has conducted an operation of massive regularization finds itself the next month [in a position that] does not allow it to master the situation anymore.”

Sarkozy’s warning was prescient (or perhaps just a dose of plain common sense), because by rewarding illegal immigrants with Spanish (and thus European) documentation, Zapatero 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. Zapatero’s politically correct leniency has, in fact, triggered an avalanche of uncontrolled immigration.

The rest of the article is a worth while read because the parallels are uncanny. It notes that Spain turned to mass immigration as the cheap and easy solution to "sustaining the construction boom that provided Spain with some of the highest economic growth rates in Europe for more than a decade." However, "the housing bubble recently collapsed and Spain suddenly finds itself in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis" burdening Spain with "the highest level of unemployment in the euro-zone." Now what is to be done with all those immigrants, "many of whom are now drawing from, instead of contributing to, Spain’s financially unsustainable social security system"?

Spain is now forced to deal harshly with its immigration policy. It has no choice. Spain "will stop hiring immigrants in their countries of origin next year because of rising unemployment...cut the number of work visas 'to roughly zero' in 2009" and "pay unemployed foreigners to return to their countries." You can read about the last item here.

Ideologues are enemies to common sense and Spain, like Canada, is chock full of them in all the wrong places. The Brussels Journal article points out that:

...Spanish Socialists...refuse to let a pesky little problem like unemployment undermine their project to turn Spain into multicultural utopia. Spanish Vice President María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, who also happens to be Spain’s high priestess of political correctness, lashed out at Corbacho with uninhibited rage. In a cabinet meeting two days after his announcement, de la Vega reprimanded Corbacho: “We should not say that phrase,” referring to the words “roughly zero.” She added: “There will be recruitment of foreign workers in their country of origin because we need them.”

Sound familiar?

Canada already allows temporary workers into the country and plans to admit more. The thing about temporary workers is that they don't leave. As the saying goes "there is nothing more permanent than a temporary worker." I am concerned that as the numbers of temporary and undocumented workers swells in Canada, coupled with a combined immigration and refugee backlog in excess of 1 million calls for a blanket amnesty will be made to clean up the mess with total disregard to the social and economic problems such a move will create.

Spain is providing pertinent warning signs but who is paying attention? Canadians are incessantly told that we need mass immigration to fill job vacancies but what job vacancies? Could it be counter help at fast food restaurants, domestics, or hotel cleaning staff? Could it be to fill the 1/3 of all jobs that are temp jobs? For years we were told Canada, like Spain, needs immigrants to sustain its construction boom but there are signs that the boom is coming to an end as housing starts are down and Alberta experiences layoffs in the construction sector. Ontario, Canada's traditional economic engine, is being hard hit in the manufacturing sector and is courting "have not" status. In spite of all of this no federal political party is willing to consider a decrease in immigration numbers. In fact we hear the opposite as a chorus of voices of all political stripes sing more, more, more. Who is going to stand up for Canada and do what is right?


Rick said...

As usual, an impending election and this topic will be avoided like the plague by all parties.

PaxCanadiana said...

Right now it is but things may change with a Conservative majority. Though the Conservatives talk no differently about immigration than the Liberals or NDP they have taken initiatives that seem to suggest that they are doing something about immigration and for the better.

Right now they have to tread lightly for fear of scarring away "ethnic voters" who for some strange reason take immigration issues personally even though they are already in the country. All we can do now is take a wait and see approach.

For the record I am not campaigning for any party and I consider myself apolitical but my views on immigration are conservative in the real sense and not this neo-con rubbish. That said I can only see a Conservative majority doing the right thing about immigration but that is not saying that they will.