Spain’s Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) asked congress to maintain a legal provision regarding the return of irregular migrants who enter the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
By Josh Babb
Rabat – The PSOE began discussions with other factions in Spain’s parliament regarding the revision of the Citizen’s Security Law last June, which went into effect in 2015. The law was originally passed by the right-leaning People’s Party (PP).
PSOE members submitted an amendment which maintains the immediate expulsion of irregular migrants who cross over to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla from Moroccan territory. The PSOE alleges that this specific provision “requires a reflection” that should not be considered as the parties debate the current law, but rather reviewed in forthcoming immigration legislation.
The practice of immediately returning an irregular migrant who has stepped foot in Spanish territory is known as a “hot return.” Since putting the law into action in 2015, Spain has faced criticism from immigrants rights organization and the European Court of Human Rights for such actions.
Last August, Spain expelled 116 sub-Saharan migrants to Africa after they had reached Ceuta, acting against the wishes of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s coalition government, the coalition of which is primarily composed of PSOE members. In October, Melilla migration officials expelled another 30 irregular migrants back to Moroccan authorities.
According to Spain’s Interior Ministry, around 3,300 irregular migrants have entered Spain through the highly fortified borders of the two Spanish cities this year. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska says Spain aims to deter migrants from the dangerous crossing before they reach the multitude of fences and barriers which separate Spain and Morocco.
Jose Alarcon Hernandez, a migration official in the Labor Ministry said: ” The more we help Morocco control its borders, the better it is for everyone.”
Spain has been a vocal advocate in for raising the EU’s funding for increased border control in Morocco. In July, the EU approved a 55 million euro fund to assist both Morocco and Tunisia in combating irregular migration. This is in addition to a 100 million euro fund to assist Morocco specifically. In announcing the deal, Spanish officials called Morocco their “preferential partner” in migration management.