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.

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

Annual Report 2020

SJM (Jesuit Migrant Service) has, once again, published its Annual Report. 2020 has been an intense period, in which Covid pandemic has revealed the collective fragility, but at the same time has been a progress moment in SJM’s mission, that has invited us to seek more creative and hopeful common answers,. The entities part of SJM have accompanied 30,555 people during 2020, of which the 50% has been in first reception spaces, many of them motivated and adapted due Covid-19. 

Also, 817 people have been welcomed in Hospitality communities, more than 5.600 people have participated in training and employment programs, more than 2.500 in individualized itineraries of psychosocial and legal accompaniment, more than 1.880 women have been accompanied in the specific line, and about 7.200 people have participated in citizenship initiatives, coexistence in diversity and awareness.

In 2020, the common work developed by the entities that are part of the SJM network in 9 cities has been present and consolidated, as well as the work in alliance with other organizations of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus and other Jesuit social and academic institutions. The presence and participation in external networks, at the intra-ecclesial and European level, broadens the joint view of accompaniment to the migrant collective in a complex. Changing and interconnected world. 

During this time of global emergency, new programs have been developed, like the virtual assistance channel during the state of alarm or the launch of the Lumen series of brief reports. The hospitality reception has prioritized the accompaniment of the most vulnerable people. Work at the internal (CIE) and external (Southern Border) borders has brought new challenges beyond the day-to.day work. The other lines of work have found the spaces, adapting to a new reality to continue being close to the migrant population, trying to avoid falling into irregularity and accompanying processes of labor, training and social inclusion. 

SJM is a human team that works to accompany, serve and defend the integration process of migrant people and their rights, seeking to influence and reflect in order to generate a public debate on migration policies. It is formed, as stated in this Report, by 155 hired people in the member entities of the network, another 11 in the technical offices and 1.322 volunteers in various spaces and initiatives. To all of them and to all the people who make SJM’s mission possible, thank you very much for continuing to be close to us in such a complex year. 

For the Ratification of Convention 189

On 16 June 2011, the International Labour Organisation adopted Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers. This Convention seeks to reverse the historical social and gender injustice between the invisibility and scant recognition given to domestic work and its fundamental role in development, both in the productive and reproductive spheres.

The Jesuit Migrant Service supports the just demands of domestic and care workers who have been fighting for years for the recognition of their rights. The ratification of Convention 189 would be an important step towards the recognition of the right to unemployment benefits, among other labour rights that are denied to domestic workers.

Globally, 90% of the more than 70 million workers, mostly migrant women and girls, work in these jobs exposed to various forms of exploitation, abuse and violations of their human rights.

At state level, one in three domestic workers lives below the poverty line despite their fundamental role in organising care. They bear the brunt of the deficits in our care system.

Convention 189 is binding on member states that ratify it and commits them to equalising the rights of domestic workers with those of other workers. Hence the importance of Spain’s ratification. We hope that the Spanish government’s declarations to initiate the procedure for the ratification of this convention will come to fruition soon.

If there is one thing that SJM organisations have learned from the women we accompany, and which has been further highlighted in the context of Covid-19, it is that domestic and care work is essential and that caring for those who care for is a cause of justice.

SIGN UP FOR THIS CAUSE AT VISIBLES.ORG

CIE 2020 Report “Legal sense and political nonsense”

We publish the CIE 2020 Report: “Legal sense and political nonsense”, the eleventh study on Immigration Detention Centres (CIE by its Spanish acronym) in the SJM report series.

On this occasion, the work focuses on detention care in times of coronavirus, the most relevant circumstance of 2020. The insufficient health care in CIEs and the need to improve their diagnostic, treatment and referral capacities are facts that set the direction of the report. More specifically, this study deals with the case of Samba Martine, a Congolese woman who died in the CIE of Aluche because she did not receive health care, and the State’s financial responsibility towards Samba’s mother and daughter.

We also analyse the structural issues that SJM monitors year after year: rights monitored by the Ombudsman, articulation between the observation carried out by civil society… Finally, we address the investment plan for the CIEs between 2019 and 2024, drawn up with the intention of reforming the existing ones and starting work on a new CIE in Algeciras, a political will that confirms the budgetary effort allocated to these constructions.

For yet another year, we are launching this report to help measure and disseminate the exact scope of detention centres, thus offering an invitation to critical thinking about what happens inside them in order to achieve the end of the precautionary detention of foreigners and, until that moment arrives, a guaranteed achievement of Human Rights in them.

Download here the CIE 2020 Report – Spanish

Download the Annex of statistical data – CIE 2020 Report SJM

Download the Catalan version

Download the abridged version in English

We publish our report “Focusing our gaze: towards a holistic model of hospitality that puts people at the centre”

With the arrival of Covid-19, EU Member States began to take measures to limit contagion: confinement, social distance, restrictions on national and international mobility… These measures had direct consequences on applicants for international protection, as JRS Europe analyses in its report From Bad to Worse: Covid-19 Deepens the Gaps in Refugee Reception Systems, a publication that studies the impact of Covid-19 on reception conditions for refugees.

In the case of Spain, we recognise elements in common with those presented at the European level, although we identify particularities related to the specific policies adopted in Spain to mitigate the health crisis, as well as coinciding with the process of transformation of our reception system. In this context, we asked ourselves: What contributions can SJM make to a new model of reception, and what lessons learned could be added to the model?

This reflection gave rise to our report “Focusing our Gaze”, where we offer the lessons learned from the European study and SJM’s vision of the reception system in Spain: where it should be heading and our vision of how it is responding to people in need of protection. Finally, we will present our proposal for a community model, through sponsorship and the network of hospitality communities.

Download the full report here

We publish the LUMEN IV Report ‘Expulsion as a weapon against illegal residence’

Continuing with the series of LUMEN studies, which aim to provide information on current migration issues, the fourth report ‘Expulsion as a weapon against illegal immigration‘ has been published. This fourth issue highlights an important part of the reality of migration: illegal residence.

People who enter and reside in a country irregularly face increasing vulnerability, even more so now with the global pandemic. It is estimated that in Spain there are 500,000 people living in this situation.

In this release we will address what the Spanish Immigration Law establishes regarding irregular status in terms of fines and infringement or expulsion, with emphasis on the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in 2015 and 2020 in order to finally raise some reflections: should irregular residence be considered a serious infringement? Should it be punished with expulsion? And even with a fine? Finally, with the help of the answers to these questions, we will establish a clear position on this situation.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL DOCUMENT HERE

Proposal for the Reform of the Regulation on Aliens to guarantee the inclusion of unaccompanied migrant children and young people

CHILDHOOD AND MIGRATION ORGANISATIONS AND PROFESSIONALS PROPOSE A MODIFICATION OF THE REGULATION ON FOREIGNERS TO GUARANTEE THE RIGHT TO DOCUMENTATION FOR CHILDREN ARRIVING ALONE IN SPAIN.

These proposals, made within the framework of the public consultation process opened by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration at the beginning of February, have the sole purpose of facilitating the transition to adult life for all children.

The proposal for modification put forward by professionals and expert bodies aims to guarantee the full and effective integration of these children and young people into Spanish society, in accordance with national and international legislation that guarantees the protection of human rights, and in particular, children’s rights.

The document presented focuses on the articles relating to the identification, documentation, processing and renewal of residence and work authorisations for children and adolescents who have arrived alone in Spain and who have been under the care and/or guardianship of the public protection entities of the Cities and Autonomous Communities. In line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations already accepted by the Ministry, the need for an exhaustive modification of Articles 196, 197 and 198 is proposed, and, going a step further, modifications to Articles 148, 190 and 211 of the same regulatory text are proposed.

In addition, several Transitional Provisions are included for the retroactive application of the Regulation, with the aim of documenting all young people who, although they were minors from 1 January 2018 to the present day, did not have access to their documentation despite being entitled to it, which places them in a situation of social exclusion.

The current regulation multiplies administrative procedures, dilutes responsibilities between the different administrations and does not provide agile and effective responses to the real needs of these children. The lack of automatic work authorisation for young migrants of working age, the demands on the business sector and young people for the processing of their work authorisation and subsequent hiring, the validity of only one year for the residence cards of minors under guardianship and the obstacles to their renewal, the difficulties in obtaining registration cards and the disparity of criteria at provincial level for their processing, and the non-recognition of the validity of children’s identity documents issued by the authorities in their countries of origin, are some of the issues that have left children and young people in a state of absolute defencelessness.

HERE THE PRESS RELEASE WITH ALL THE PROPOSALS

CONSULT HERE THE FULL DOCUMENT OF RLOEX REFORM PROPOSALS

SIGNATORIES:

Aldeas Infantiles SOS, Alucinos la Salle, Asociación Española de Abogados Extranjeristas, Asociación Noves Vies, Asociación Pro Derechos de la Infancia (Prodein), Asociación Progestión, Cáritas, Col.lectiu Hourria, Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR), Comisión de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR) – Euskadi, Coordinadora de Barrios, Coordinadora Estatal de Plataformas Sociales Salesianas (CEPSS), Coordinadora Obrim Fronteres, Cruz Roja Juventud, Federación Andalucía Acoge, Federación Estatal de SOS Racismo, Fundación Raíces, La Merced Migraciones, Plataforma de Infancia, Pueblos Unidos – Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, Save the Children, UNICEF España, Voluntarios por otro Mundo Wasata Sans Frontières

Report: Population of immigrant origin in Spain 2020

For yet another year we publish the annual report ‘Population of immigrant origin in Spain, 2020’. A demographic analysis, in the light of official data, of the foreign and foreign-born population in Spain and its evolution over the last decade. The report also looks at the most relevant foreign population groups.

At the beginning of 2020, the foreign-born population accounted for almost 15% of the total population, nearly 7 million people (of which 28% are citizens of an EU state), while the resident foreign population was 11%. Compared to 2019, the largest positive change in figures was among the foreign-born resident population (+457,864). The migratory balance stood at 454,232, a magnitude higher than that of the total population.

Among the main immigrant population groups according to their country of birth, Morocco (+800,000), Romania (almost 580,000) and Colombia (almost 500,000) are the three main foreign nationalities. They are followed by Ecuador, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Peru.

The report concludes that the trend of migratory movements initiated in 2016 is accentuated, with the growth of the Venezuelan population standing out above all, followed by Colombia, Morocco and Honduras. The public ideology that in 2018 related foreign entries with irregular entries, from 2019 onwards the diversity of origins is understood: more Central Americans and Caribbeans on the one hand, Moroccans on the other; and Europeans and Chinese, in which the profiles of applicants for international protection stand out. The covid-19 pandemic has had a clear effect on the reduction of migratory arrivals due to the closure of international borders. The unknowns for the future are how long this closure will last and how the economic crisis derived from the pandemic will affect migratory flows.

DOWNLOAD HERE THE REPORT ‘Population of immigrant origin in Spain 2020’.

We publish the report Lumen V ‘Virtual Service Channel: learnings and challenges for the future’

Continuing with the series of LUMEN studies, which aim to provide information on current migration issues, the fifth report ‘Canal de Atención Virtual: learnings and challenges for the future’ has been published. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the declaration of the State of Alarm in Spain, this issue focuses on the articulated response carried out by the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM by its Spanish acronym) at a time of such a complex crisis for everyone.

Through this channel (a new and creative service that emerged as a result of the first confinement) the Jesuit Migrant Service has tried to replicate its usual services, adjusting to a completely different context and offering answers at a time of many doubts. In addition, the channel provided an insight into the problems and concerns that people have faced at each stage of the atypical 2020:

What happens to my appointment at the Immigration offices? If my documents expire during the state of alarm, will they be valid? Could the Administration respond during the alarm and require new documentation? Can I reach an agreement with my landlord to postpone the payment of rent because of my new situation? Can I return to Spain if I have been stuck abroad? What if I was on tourism in Spain and all flights to my country have been cancelled?

Reflecting on its functioning, the lessons learned and the challenges that remain on the horizon, with this report we would like to thank all citizens for the joint effort and solidarity shown at such a complicated time, which encourages us to continue working in a new way to be close to migrants in Spain.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL DOCUMENT HERE