October 31, 2020

Spain has deported more than 220,000 migrants in the last 10 years


Yassin M. was born 25 years ago in Madrid. He has lived all his life in Spain but one day he was arrested by the police and with an expulsion file. “I did not have the money to pay for a good lawyer,” says this young man in a documentary produced by the Iridia center and Novact. “I saw myself in the immigration jail and at 6 in the morning the next day in Barajas.” He was deported on a flight to Melilla and managed to return. A few months later he was arrested again, he did not carry his documentation with him and ended up in a Foreigners Internment Center (CIE).

Three migrants tell of their journey to reach Spain in a play: "Before we came we did not know the word racism"

Three migrants tell of their journey to reach Spain in a play: “Before we came we did not know the word racism”

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Despite not being the usual thing, the case of Yassin exemplifies the extent to which racialized people, whether they have papers or not, are unprotected in Spain and are liable to end up on a plane that sports them outside our borders.

A study by the Iridia and Novact Center, presented this Wednesday in Barcelona, ​​puts figures and faces on the victims of Spanish deportations: between 2010 and 2019 alone, 223,463 people have been deported from our borders, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior. The figures do not include the so-called “hot returns”, whose data have not been provided by the authorities. “There is a flagrant lack of transparency that prevents the monitoring and accountability of the State regarding this practice,” affirm the authors of the document.

The majority of these deportations – 92,433 – have been denials of entry. That is, the procedure for the expulsion of foreigners who try to enter Spanish territory through authorized border accesses such as airports, ports, etc. They are followed by returns for having managed to enter the country illegally, with 56,576 cases in the same period.

The extensive report, of almost 200 pages, highlights in this section the lack of procedural guarantees in the cases of migrants who have been identified at our borders after entering illegally. According to its authors, public defenders attend to large groups of people who have come together and on many occasions these lawyers are not specialized in this type of case. The document also affirms that “collective detention hearings” and courts that issue identical detention orders for all people arriving in the same boat have been detected.

Expulsions for the commission of crimes, minority

The data on expulsions for the commission of crimes in the study dismantle, once again, any link between crime and illegal immigration agitated by some political parties. Deportations of people residing in Spain and imposed after a criminal conviction or after being detected in an irregular administrative situation are considered expulsions.

The expulsions related to the commission of criminal offenses are much lower than those related to the fact of having administrative offenses. 76% of these expulsions are carried out simply due to administrative irregularities, the lack of papers being the most numerous, accounting for 60% of the expulsions. In numbers: of the 71,684 expulsions of migrants since 2010, 17,285 were for the commission of crimes, which represents 24%.

With these data in hand, the entities that signed the study warn that the main means of access to expel migrants in an irregular situation is the identification and detention by the State Security Forces and Bodies.

The result is that a good part of the police identifications are made by ethnic profile and / or by presenting an image of poverty. The report also warns that on occasions, in order to fully charter deportation flights, raids of specific ethnic profiles have increased.

The booming business of immigration control

Between 2014 and 2020, Spain has received 812.1 million euros of European funds to be used for the control and management of migratory flows. These projects have had a remarkable outsourcing that has generated huge income for some companies that usually obtain public contracts. In the aforementioned period, there have been 456 public contracts linked to the deportation system of Spain for an amount of 127 million.

The industries in which these companies thrive are diverse. According to the report, within the migrant identification system there are technology companies that support information and communication systems linked to databases for migration control. In this section, companies such as Indra Sistemas SA, Informática El Corte Inglés, Telefónica Soluciones de Informática y Comunicaciones of Spain stand out …

Beyond the companies that provide these surveillance systems at border posts, the study highlights that many of these companies also provide services for the identification and recognition of people at authorized border crossings.

Another chapter in this section focuses on companies that are directly involved in the deportation of migrants by land, sea and air. The main beneficiaries are the Temporary Union of Companies Air Europa-Swift Air (2013-2016), Evelop Airlines SL, Air Nostrum Lineas Aereas del Mediterráneo SA (2018-2019), among others.

The stories of deportations and police identifications by ethnic profiling are not, however, just numbers. A 20-minute documentary that accompanies the report and in which the elDiario.es video team has collaborated puts a face and words on some of these 220,000 deportations. It can be seen under these lines.


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