Analysis of the proposal for the reform of the Immigration Regulation

In the Council of Ministers of 31st May 2022, it was agreed to authorize the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration to urgently process a draft Royal Decree amending the Immigration Regulation. Urgent processing implies dispensing with some procedures (such as public consultation) and the reduction of deadlines for others, such as public information. 

On Friday 3rd June, the public hearing and information period was opened to collect contributions from civil society for 7 working days, until Monday 13rd June. A draft Royal Decree modifying 18 articles of the Immigration Regulation was submitted for public information, accompanied by the Regulatory Impact Analysis Report. 

4 KEY IDEAS OF SJM’S POSITION ON THE REFORM:

  • Many people remain outside the regulation: the utilitarian nature of the proposals leaves out the reality of forced migration. Furthermore, it does not put an end to the precariousness that exists in these sectors, it ignores elements of social inclusion that are not aimed at employment and it does not consider the lack of protection that is generated during the administrative processing times. 
  • It attempts to establish simpler and more agile immigration procedures, although with insufficient measures to allow for improvements in the short term. 
  • It broadens and makes the figures of “arraigo” (rootedness) more flexible, eliminating some barriers and creating a new figure of regularization.
  • It generates longer and more sustainable recruitment itineraries at origin for legal and safe migration, albeit circular – focused on employment and with an obligation to return to the country of origin. 

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World Refugee Day: Hospitality Yes, Hospitality Always

(Text originally published in Papeles nº 262, April 2022, of Cristianisme i Justicia. Authors: Mª Carmen de la Fuente, SJM coordinator, and Santi Torres, president of the Migra Studium board of trustees). 

More than 100 million people in the worls have been forced to flee their homes for various reasons: wars, conflicts, violence, climate change, scarcity of resources, impoverishment… On world Refugee Day, 20th June, we call for Hospitality as way to act in the face of this reality. 

Some things are beyond our reach, especially now, but it is within our reach to listen and be very attentive to the reality that is reaching us. And this reality asks us to be at the side of the people, to get close to those who are suffering and to do so urgently, providing the necessary help for those who have to leave their homes without knowing if they will be able to return. But not only this: we must go further, as did the Good Samaritan who, after healing the wounds of the needy person he met on the road, took care of him (Lc 10, 25-37). We too must find ways to offer Hospitality… always. 

FULL TEXT HERE (Cristianismo I Justicia website).

Paths of Hospitality, Paths of Peace.

Once again this year, the Paths of Hospitality initiative is underway. In 2022, when the world is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, a war is once again taking place in Europe. In this context, we can see how the culture of hospitality, solidarity and welcome is more necessary than ever to offer protective responses to those fleeing violence, lack of resources or the climate change. The cases of Ukraine, but also of ongoing and forgotten conflicts such as Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and many others, challenge us to respond to this situation. 

This year, Paths of Hospitality are Paths of Peace. Through this symbolic mobilization that is being organized in many places in Spain, we raise our voices to demand a culture of Hospitality and peace, as the only possible way for harmonious and enriching coexistence between different religions and cultures. 

This 2022 the Paths of Hospitality initiative will be extended in time. While in previous years the activities were centred around the International Day of Refugees (20th June), it is proposed to extend the timeframe to allow the walks to take place at different times of the year, taking advantage of the appeal of different symbolic dates. We therefore invite you to walk this year also around the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (25thSeptember), promoted by Pope Francis with the motto ‘Building the future with migrants and refugees’, as well as on the date of the International Day of Migrants (18th December). 

On the initiative’s website you can access all the information about this action. In addition, participants are encouraged to share and send photos and testimonials with the hastag #SumaTuCamino (#AddYourWay) on social networks or by email to contacto@hospitalidad.es in order to become aware of the hospitality network that together we make up.

VISIT THE PATHS OF HOSPITALITY 2022 WEBSITE (IN 4 LANGUAGES)

We welcome the reform if the Immigration Regulation that will improve the lives of children and young people who migrate by themselves

The Regulation approved today by the Council of Ministers will benefit many children and young people who have been suffering for years the terrible consequences in their lives of a regulation that only placed insurmountable obstacle and barriers to their social integration in Spain. 

Organizations defending the rights of migrant children and youth consider today’s decision by the Council of Ministers to approve the reform on the Immigration Regulation, in relation with many of the articles that affect them, to be a historic step towards to the inclusion of children arriving by themselves in Spain. 

The approval of today’s reform by the Council of Ministers will benefit thousands of young people, who have been suffering for years the terrible consequences in their lives of a regulation that only placed insurmountable obstacles and barriers to their integration, especially in their transition to adulthood. 

Dozens of organizations and groups specialized in children’s and migrant’s rights have been denouncing for years the abusive conditions of a regulation that has led to the administrative irregularity and social exclusion of thousands of adolescents and young people who, on the other hand, are recognized by the Immigration Lax as being regular for all purposes. 

With today’s Reform as it was proposed in its las version in August, and pending the final text to be published in the Official State Gazette, the aim is to respond to the real needs of migrant children, mainly in their transition to adult life, facilitating the development of their life project in Spain and ultimately favoring their lasting and effective integration into our society, taking into account their conditions of special vulnerability, due to their status as immigrants. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS COMMUNICATES.

We have published a Practical Guide with the keys to processing residence and work permits for minors under guardianship and young migrants who were formerly under guardianship.

The reform of the Immigration Regulation of November 2021, with the entry into effect of Royal Decree 903/2021, has marked a turning point in the legal regulation of young people migrant alone to Spain. The previous regulations set out requirements that most young people were not able to meet, having to face numerous obstacles that prevented them from continuing with their future plans and achieving their dreams. Instead, we now have more flexible regulatory framework that is better adapted to the particularities of unaccompanied migrant minors and young people in detention. 

With the publication of this guide we seek to offer to all the people who work on a daily basis with children and youth migrant and the young foreigners themselves some keys so that they can carry out the necessary procedures to maintain of obtain a residence and work authorization that will help them on their way to autonomy and social and labor insertion. It includes the aspects to be taken into account from their arrival in Spanish territory for their regularization once they reach the age of majority, as well as the renewal of these authorizations. 

We seek to provide a practical approach, sharing the steps to follow and the necessary documentation to present to prevent these young people from falling into a situation of supervening irregularity, and to participate in the promotion of good practices that lighten the bureaucratic processes and focus on what is most important: the accompaniment and inclusion of all young people who are in Spain. 

CONSUL HERE THE GUIDE FOR THE PROCESSING OF THE APPLICATION AND RENEWAL OF THE RESIDENCE AND WORK PERMIT IN SPAIN. 

Women on the Move: migrant women, women with rights

  • On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Alboan, Entreculturas, the Jesuit Migrant Service of Spain (SJM) and the Ellacuría Foundation presented Women on the Move, an initiative that focuses on the rights of women and girls, with special attention to migrant and refugee women. 

The Arrupe Etxea center in Bilbao was the venue for the presentation of the initiative with a press conference with the participation of a group of women communicators who recently traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to meet women who have suffered violence in their migratory processes and who struggle to defend their rights from different spaces. The event was led by the communicator Pili Kaltzada and included the participation of Sara Diego, Alboan advocacy technician; Caddy Abzuda, Congolese lawyer and activist, 2014 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord; África Baeta, journalist of EiTB; Jenny Paula Tenorio, collaborator of the Ellacuría Foundation; and Lucía Rodríguez, head of Advocacy at Entreculturas. 

Against the backdrop of the presentation of the report ‘Women on the Move, the reality of women in migration processes’, a campaign has been launched to collect signatures on the platform visibles.org that aims to incorporate the gender perspective into the Pact on Migration and Asylum that the European Union presented in 2020. To this end, the driving organizations launch five proposals and recommendations so that migrant and refugee women are also considered at the center of European policies on protection and inclusion. The EU document does not recognize the specific violence that women face and increases discrimination and lack of protection. 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN FOR MIGRANT WOMEN’S RIGHTS.

Reponses to the Ukraine crisis

Since last Thursday, February 24th, 2022, when Vladimir Putin’s Russian government decided to launch a military operation to invade Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of people have left their homes to flee to neighboring countries such as Poland, Hungary, Romania or Moldova. As of March 2nd, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than 1 million people have already crossed the external borders in the first week of the war. According to European Commission estimates, between 2.5 and 6.5 million Ukrainians may be displaced by the armed conflict, and between 1.2 and 3.2 million of them will apply for international protection. 

Jesuit social organizations working with migrant and refugee populations have been following the events in Ukraine with particular concern. We join Pope Francis in expressing our sorrow for the “diabolical senselessness of violence” and in asking all parties to “refrain from any action that could cause further suffering”. The international cooperation entities (Alboan and Entreculturas) together with the Xavier Network have activated an emergency protocol to collaborate in the sustainability of the humanitarian programs that the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Europe and other entities of the Society of Jesus are carrying out, mobilizing resources worldwide to provide immediate support in Ukraine and neighboring. 

The European Union’s response: advocating a welcoming response. 

The European Commission has proposed the application of the Temporary Protection Directive to Ukrainian refugees, which would automatically grant them a residence and work authoritation in member states. The proposal has been approved by the EU on Thursday, March 3rd in Brussels. 

We welcome the initial positive response of the EU Member States, determined to react as a Union and provide protection to people fleeing Ukraine and strongly support the proposal to activate the procedure to provide temporary protection in cases of peak influx of refugees, as foreseen by the Temporary Protection Directive. 

We would like to stress that all persons fleeing the conflict in Ukraine should be able to leave the country, regardless of their nationality. Once they are safe, and in appropriate reception conditions, the protection needs of non-Ukrainian third country nationals can be assessed in accordance with existing procedures and the repatriation of those wishing to return to their countries of origin can and should be facilitated. 

In addition to the immediate response, EU Member States should swiftly discuss and agree on a responsibility-sharing plan, including clear relocation measures, to ensure that the workload in Ukraine’s neighboring countries is kept under control and that EU protection standards and reception conditions can be guaranteed. Finally, it is also imperative to recognize the protection needs of Ukrainians who were already outside the country when the conflict began. 

At the Spanish level: willingness to protect and dialogue between administrations and social entities. 

The Spanish Government has committed itself “to be aligned with the decision to be taken by the Council of the European Union regarding the possible granting of temporary protection in the event of a massive influx of displaced persons and measures to promote an equitable effort among the Member States to receive such persons and to assume the consequences of their reception”. As stated in the institutional declaration of march 1st, “with regard to Ukrainian citizens living in Spain, the necessary measures will be taken to ensure that they can stay and work in our country, have access to health and educational care, as well as to the corresponding social assistance”. 

The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration has initiated the contacts and procedures to coordinate and prepare the device for the reception of people coming from Ukraine. In recent days, meetings have been held between the Ministry and the Autonomous Communities, with NGO’s that are part of the public system for the reception of refugees and with organizations of the Ukrainian community in Spain

The action of JRS Europe and its national offices with the population fleeing Ukraine (communiqué of March 1st).

In Ukraine: helping those fleeing supporting internally displaced persons.

In Lviv, where JRS is present, the security situation remains relatively calm. Many people are arriving from other parts of Ukraine. Most intend to reach the Polish border and often need support or a place to spend the night on their way. The JRS refugee house, with a capacity of about 20 people, is currently being used used for that purpose. Also the Jesuit retreat house has immediately become a transit house for displaced personas. 

In Romania: JRS in the front line.

Between February 24th and 28th, 70,000 people passed from Ukraine to Romania. Some 30,000 of them left quickly for other EU countries, while 28,000 chose to stay. At the moment, only a small minority officially applied for asylum seekers. Both the Romanian authorities and citizens are showing great enthusiasm for welcoming the people, although there is still a need to coordinate the various responses. 

JRS in Romania is providing support both in the centers for asylum seekers along the borders and to people who are not in the centers, providing welcome packs, acting as a mediator between private donors, government organizations and people in need, supporting people to reach airports and train stations, providing accommodation in JRS’ own shelter and seeking further accommodation for people in need. 

In Poland and Hungary: creating and supporting a reception infrastructure.

Poland is at the moment the country receiving the most arrivals of people from Ikraine. Many are staying with family and friends, as well as traveling to other EU countries. JRS is mobilizing to facilitate the transport of people from the borders, as well as to provide basic supplies and support people in search of temporary accommodation through rental assistance. Additional support in the form of legal, administrative and psychological assistance is being organized. 

At the moment, Hungary is receiving a smaller number of people, including Hungarians who were living across the border in Ukraine. The government has expressed its willingness to support the refugees and the Hungarian population if reacting in a very welcoming manner. JRS has a small presence in the country and is currently assessing how best to be of service. Hungary is traditionally a transit country for refugees, but in this case, if the conflict persists, it is likely that many Ukrainians will want to stay. Therefore, JRS is already looking at medium-term support needs, such as long-term shelter support, alongside more immediate needs such as the provision of food and healthcare. 

In Southeast Europe: preparing from the “second line”.

Taking into account the experience of the Crimean Crisis in 2014, JRS in Southeast Europe (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia) is also preparing into receive some Ukrainian refugees if the conflict persists. The contingency plan is prepared, including the search for possible accommodation in families, parishes and Jesuit houses. Relevant contacts are being established with government authorities and municipalities, such as the city of Zagreb in Croatia, to be prepared with a hospitality-based response in case of need. 

YOU CAN SUPPORT HERE THE ACTION OF JRS WITH PEOPLE DISPLACED BY THE WAR IN UKRAINE.

SJM 2021 Meeting: Seeds of Resistance

On November 10th, 11st and 12nd, the Jesuit Migrant Service held its Annual Meeting 2021 in Madrid, where about 70 people from the network’s entities participated with the motto “Seeds of Resistance”. The meeting took place at the Casa de Ejercicios de las Esclavas de Cristo Rey. 

We began the Assembly on Wednesday, November 10th, when the welcome and reception took place at 7:00 pm. After dinner, an evening was organized as a first contact and meeting point for the participants of the Meeting.

On Thursday morning we began with an Institutional Welcome, where María del Carmen De La Fuente, SJM coordinator, and Luis Arancibia, Delegate of the Social Sector, presented the main challenges and achievements of the network, alluding to the motto of resistance to continue accompanying on a daily basis. After this presentation, with the aim of framing our action and putting a face to the realities seen in the care and accompaniment of migrants in the last year, the dynamic “The faces we see” took place. Through the faces of people who are accompanied, testimonies were presented so that we could see more closely what stories are seen in several of the areas and dimensions of work, from the southern border and Detention Centres , to residential reception and social inclusion. 

Wednesday morning ended with an eye on where we are. A self-diagnosis to make visible where the capacities of the works and the connections of the network are placed. To this end, 5 working groups were created, each with a dimension: protection, reception, residential, inclusion and coexistence. They identified elements defining each dimension, present difficulties and challenges, and connections with the other dimensions. To end the dynamics, there was a sharing among all the participants. 

Finally, as part of the same dynamic, we looked at where we should be in order to change things, with the objective of identifying the needs, challenges and opportunities to accompany, serve and defend the people we are looking at. For this space, based on what was carried out during the morning, the participants were distributed in three spaces: Intervention and Accompaniment, Strengthening and Sustainability, and Raising Awareness and Advocacy. In each space we identified lines of force and common aces to pool all the dimensions and understand where we should be in order to respond the needs and challenges of migrants in the most effective and relevant way. 

Friday morning was entitled “Keys to Resilience”, where some of the network’s colleagues shared their own stories, testimonies of celebration in each of the steps we take together with those we accompany, serve and defend, as well as words of resilience and hope that were shared to support the team in the most difficult moments and continue to look forward without giving up. 

To end the Assembly and before the group photo and the farewell meal, there was an space for closing and recollection of the Assembly in an interreligious key, with an activity in which each person shared the main word that resonates in this Assembly in a little boat that sails in the sea of the day to day in the accompaniment of migrants. 

Thank you very much to all the entities and companions who came to Madrid to share, enjoy and learn in this annual meeting where we recharge strength and energy to continue with our mission and challenges.

SJM is the network of organizations of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus, organizations that work in the field of migration, which are: Pueblos Unidos Center and Padre Rubio of the Foundation San Juan del Castillo (Madrid), Migra Studium Foundation (Barcelona), Claver-SJM Association (Sevilla), Ellacuría Foundation (Bilbao), SJM Valencia, Red Íncola (Valladolid), Atalaya Intercultural (Burgos), Padre Lasa Center (Tudela), LoiolaEtxea Association (Donostia). The University Institute for Migration Studies (UP Comillas, Madrid) and the Diocesan Delegation of Migration of Tangier (site in Nador) are also part of the network.

What is Private Sponsorship for Refugees?

The Private Refugees Sponsorship project consists of an initiative of  Hospitality and accompaniment by civil society to refugees who arrive in our country in a vulnerable situation, so that there is a real and safe integration in the place of arrival. 

This accompaniment seeks to involve the local community to be part of the process, to see and become aware of the urgency and needs of refugees to achieve a dignified life and, together, to seek effective solutions. In this way, a “family” attitude is created between the new arrivals, civil society and public administrations. 

This initiative is promoted by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in close collaboration with, on the one hand, Central Governments (Ministry of Inclusion, Social Welfare and Migration) Regional Governments; and on the other hand, social organizations (Diocesan Caritas, the Society of Jesus and the Jesuit Migrant Service – SJM) and the local community. 

One of the great strengths about this project is that it is a durable solution of inclusion, in the line with the commitments adopted in the Global Compact on Refugees, where the community is directly involved with the work of reception and integration of refugees, accompanying and supporting the processes of integration and participation of refugees in the community, acting as the basic network of support and accompaniment and attending to all material, emotional and personal needs. In addition, the program complements the state refugee rewarming and refugee resettlement programs, and reinforces social inclusion and cohesion, involving the authorities and civil society. 

The integration proposal consists of hosting families in conditions of extreme vulnerability for a period of between 18 and 24 months. Thus, thanks to the Private Refugees Sponsorship and its volunteers, apart from integration into society and the opportunity of a new dignified life, the families welcomed are guaranteed the right to international protection. 

So far, three projects in three different regions have been promoted in partnership between UNHCR and the public administrations of the Government, both central and regional , since the end of 2019. In the Basque Country, it began with a pilot project to receive 29 people from Jordan identified by their teams as particularly vulnerable cases. There Syrian families are accompanied in different municipalities of the Basque Country through a collaboration agreement with Caritas Dioceses of Bilbao, San Sebastian and Vitoria and the Ignacio Ellacuría Social Foundation, with the intention that it can be replicated on other Regions of Spain. 

In the Valencian Community, the Generalitat launched the Private Refugees Sponsorship project in October 2020, with the social support of SJM Valencia and the local communities of the Valencian capital and the municipality of Alaquás. 

In Tudela, the Padre Lasa Center and the San Francisco Javier Civil Foundation participate in the ‘Somos’ project together with the Government of Navarra, the General Directorate of Migration Policies and the City Council of Tudela. This initiative welcomes two Syrian families in the city. 

World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2021. “Towards an ever greater ‘We’.

Newt Sunday, September 26th will be celebrated, as every year, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, with the aim of raising awareness in society about the constant challenges faced by migrants and refugees in the world, people in vulnerable situations who seek a dignified life in other places. 

It is important not to forget the catastrophic reach that the pandemic has had in every corner of the world, with a greater impact on the most vulnerable people in society, whose humans rights have fallen by the wayside. For this reason, the Pope Francis explains that “if we know their story, we can understand them” and, in this way, fight and watch over the rights of each persona, understanding that thousands of lives that are forced to leave everything behind must not be left unprotected. 

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) advocates for a social awareness that puts aside, quoting the Holy Father, “our fear of others, of the unknown, of the marginalized, of the strangers who knock at our door in search of protection, security and better future”, extolling our humanity, without differentiating a life by its social or human condition. 

People without equal opportunities, destined to flee their homes, entire families on the margins looking for a place to feel safe. It is an undeniable reality that must be fought, and that is why the WDMR supports and advocates for their rights so that we can build a universal “We” in a society that understands that all lives are valuable. 

For more information about WDMR, click here