According to the dictionary definition, an immigrant is a “[person] who arrives in a different country or region from his or her place of origin to settle there temporarily or permanently.”
There are a variety of reasons that lead to that decision, mainly given by economic, political, academic or personal reasons. In other words, among the objectives most commonly pursued by those who leave their country to settle in a foreign country are the intention of achieving a better way of life, a better job, an opportunity to study and obtain training and, in many cases, escape from war, persecution in his homeland for political reasons, etc.
These needs are, at the same time, inalienable rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Specifically, in Article 13: “Everyone has the right to move freely and to choose his residence in the territory of a State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. ”
However, and despite this important recognition, immigrants are subject to discrimination and rejection, mainly by right-wing and far-right political parties. And above all, those who suffer the most from double discrimination and rejection are black people. Just for the color of your skin.
It should be remembered that most of the countries of destination of African immigration are the countries that have subjected the African continent and its people to slavery and colonization for centuries.
They have created ethnic conflicts between the African peoples, separating families, commercializing their people as slaves and expelling millions from their homes and their own countries.
They have selected and distributed the different African countries to carry out the greatest colonization in the history of mankind. They explored and plundered their important natural resources and the slave labor to develop economic and industrial activities that have contributed and contributed greatly to the socio-economic growth and development of the colonizing countries. Consequently, they have caused enormous damage to the African continent.
They have impoverished their population and the development of their local economies leading many Africans to immigration as the only way out to survive and help their families. It is the group of immigrants who suffer the most rejection from the rest of the immigrants. Those who get more difficulty in everything and greater efforts to achieve the goals they are more easily used to identify the problems of immigration and the massive influx of immigrants, especially during election periods. From the media, reproducing images of sub-Saharan immigrants entering into boats. From speeches by PP leader Pablo Casado stating: “It is not possible for Spain to absorb millions of Africans who want to come to Europe”, “there are a million immigrants waiting on the Libyan coast that are considering a new route through Spain” and “50 million Africans are raising money to be able to make those routes.”
Despite all these falsehoods that point to a massive invasion of African immigrants and the attempts to provoke a social anti-immigration alarm, there is a different reality. There are official data that deny all this information. According to data published by the Permanent Immigration Observatory of the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security, of the total population resident in Spain as of June 30, 2018 (46,733,038), the total number of resident foreigners corresponds to 11, 41% (5,331,774). Of these, sub-Saharan African immigrants only represent 0.43%. Meanwhile, the whole of the European Union plus the rest of Europe corresponds to 5.8% and 0.38% respectively. Central and South America 1.85%, North Africa 1.83%, Asia 0.94%, etc. This is the reality and these are the real data.
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We are currently witnessing the rise of xenophobic and racist speeches and the increasing radicalization of various right-wing and far-right political parties, from the United States to Europe.
They are organizing on several fronts with the complicity of related media, using social networks to spread their antisocial ideas based on lies, falsifying information and data.
We have seen how the president of the United States, Donald Trump, at an election rally before being elected, ridiculed and mocked a person with a physical disability. He also said that “I could stop in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people and not lose voters.” And yet people voted for him.
They are manipulating and deceiving people in order to obtain more votes in order to serve their interests and defend their social status.
They associate immigrants with crime, with taking away the work of nationals, they are accused of benefiting from rights to the detriment of workers, etc. They differentiate and discriminate against immigrants by country of origin, considering them the underdeveloped and third world, discriminate based on social status, religious beliefs, etc.
Faced with these manifestations it is necessary to distinguish the falsehood from truthfulness.
Crime refers to the act of committing one or more crimes, it is an action that people exercise in breaking the laws. It can be committed by anyone, whether immigrant or not. Be white or black. Whoever it is, must respond and comply with all its consequences before the law for the acts committed.
It is false that immigrants take work away from the natives. On the contrary, they are used in many cases to exploit and profit. To perform low qualification jobs that many natives reject. They double the effort, sacrifice, and ability to get a job and in many cases get less pay.
Immigration brings great benefits to society as a whole, both in countries of destination and in countries of origin. It is a real fact demonstrated by various national and international studies and institutions with reports, data and proven results. Citing as examples of the economic contribution of foreigners in Spain, according to the report prepared by the Economic Office of the Presidency of the Government of Spain in 2006, immigrants had been directly responsible for half of the strong growth of Spanish GDP between 2000 and 2005, with an average annual growth of approximately 3.6%.
Along the same lines, the 2006 Caixa Catalunya report indicates that during the period 1996–2006 Spain grew by an average of 2.6% per year thanks to the contribution of immigrants. According to the same study, the Spanish GDP would have declined 0.6% annually in that period without the contribution of immigrants. Even at the level of the countries of the European Union, the most significant declines would have been: Germany (-1.5%); Italy (-1.2%); Sweden (-0.8%); Portugal and Greece (-0.6%).
Another more recent example of the contribution of immigrants in the Spanish economy comes from the data published by the INSS in February of this year 2019: the average affiliation of foreigners to Social Security has been 10.51%. That means a considerable increase in the Social Security contribution, with all the benefits that this entails: it helps to maintain and improve the rights of the Welfare State such as pensions for retirement, unemployment or coverage in case of a medical disability, etc.
As for the countries of origin, the most important contribution of immigration is the remittance figures. According to the data published by the World Bank, in 2017 481,000 million dollars were sent, an amount more than three times higher than official development aid. And according to Eurostat data published in November 2018, “the sending of foreign currency by foreign workers in Spain exceeded 7,300 million euros throughout 2017”. These amounts contribute to improving the quality of life of the host families in improving their education, health and in promoting economic activities in the countries of origin.
However, apart from all the important information that demonstrates the great benefits of immigration, we are seeing how they are used to foster and nurture attitudes of hatred and confrontation with immigrants.
We are living a worrying level of loss of social values and democratic quality, especially if they are destroying many of the great achievements in social rights.
In the face of all these manifestations and xenophobic and racist actions, it is necessary to foster attitudes of tolerance for peaceful, inclusive and respectful coexistence among people without distinctions.
It is necessary to act and stop the policies of setbacks in social rights. It is necessary to commit to progress, for equality in rights and freedoms, for a prosperous, more open, more plural, more egalitarian and inclusive society.
In every history of humanity, there was always immigration in all societies and has contributed and will continue to contribute greatly to the cultural diversity, growth and socio-economic development of states and governments.