Esquerra Republicana will collect signatures and pressure Spain into regularizing migrants

Esquerra is to set up some forty stalls across the country for citizens to sign in favour of bringing the “Esenciales” movement’s Popular Legislative Initiative to the Spanish Congress

Esquerra Republicana will set up some forty stalls throughout the territory to collect signatures to petition for the regularization of migrants. Esquerra supports the Popular Legislative Initiative (PLI) promoted by the “Esenciales” movement, which must gather 500,000 signatures if it is to introduce this debate at the Spanish Congress.

“This campaign is being conducted by migrants organizing themselves as political subjects; and what we will do at Esquerra is to exercise our social responsibility as a party,” said Republican Congresswoman Maria Dantas. The initiative specifically seeks to amend an article of the Spanish Ley de Extranjería, or Aliens Act, in order to establish an extraordinary regularization of all persons who arrived in Spain before November 1, 2021.

“It is unacceptable that among our neighbours there are those who live without enjoying citizenship,” says Ms Dantas. She also explains that this type of regularization is not uncommon: “There have been six in Spain, four by PSOE socialist governments, and two by the conservative PP; and from 1996 to 2008, 43 regularizations were carried out in 17 different European countries.” The Congresswoman attests that the migrants are “fed up” with waiting for the Spanish executive to make a new regularization, which is why they are campaigning for the PLI.

Esquerra’s first signature collection stand opened on Wednesday, June 15, in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, and up to 38 will be set up throughout the territory in the coming days, until June 20. There will be stalls in Barcelona, Terrassa, Sabadell, Reus, Sitges, Igualada, Vic, La Seu d’Urgell, Tàrrega and Tremp, and many other towns.

The proposed bill has the support of thousands of citizens and hundreds of organizations, foundations and NGOs, including Esquerra and its youth wing, Jovent Republicà. An oddity of the campaign initiative is that many of the promoters are directly affected by their irregular administrative situation, and so will not be able to sign the petition—only those with Spanish nationality can do so, and as long as they have turned 18 before September 23, 2022, the deadline to submit the 500,000 signatures to Congress.

“This initiative will provide concret solutions for 500,000 people throughout Spain suffering a serious breach of their rights,” said Maria Dantas. Many work in sectors that are considered essential, such as farming and the care sector. “We have to stand by just causes, and this is certainly one” she said, urging people to sign.

If the regularization is approved, the conditions that foreigners will have to meet in order to benefit will depend on the debate in the chamber and the Spanish government, which will produce the final draft of the Royal Decree that should enable the regularization. On previous occasions, the conditions were to have resided permanently in Spain for at least six months before the law was approved, and to have a work contract of at least six months, to obtain residence and work permits for one year. The PLI Promotion Committee considers that is “insufficient” and says it will work with the various parliamentary groups to make the regularization “broader” this time round.