Nearly 5.5 million foreigners, more than a third of them from Latin American countries, live in Spain, according to official data. This is out of a total population of 47.6 million people, and this does not take into account all those who are in Spain illegally or the increasing number of Spanish citizens with an immigration background.
In terms of having its own population replaced by non-European immigrants and their offspring, Spain is still lagging behind countries like France, Britain, Germany and Sweden, but it has been catching up fast of late.
But apparently not fast enough for Pedro Sánchez’s government, an administration made up of pro-immigration socialists, communists and other members of the far left prone to social engineering.
As illegal immigration numbers are down this year compared with what they were a year ago, the Spanish Congress of Deputies is going to debate on how to give them a boost by delivering residence permits to all illegal immigrants who arrived in Spain before Nov. 1, 2021. Such measures are known to encourage potential illegal migrants to try their luck in the hope that they, too, might someday get a residence permit.
Before Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presided over a sharp rise in illegal immigration when he took office in 2018, the previous record for the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Spain was in 2006, with 39,180 illegals in just one year (compared to 11,781 the year before), just after the socialist government of José Luis Zapatero had proceeded with mass regularization of immigrants in an illegal situation.
And Italy is still paying the price for the decision taken by its pro-immigration, left-wing government to legalize en masse the status of illegals in May 2020. That decision had been demanded by the minister of agriculture at the time, Teresa Bellanova, to compensate for the absence of workers from Eastern Europe due to the closure of borders prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the last two years, the country has been struggling with an influx of illegal immigrants arriving on small boats from the coast of Tunisia, as Tunisia itself has had to face a surge in arrivals of Sub-Saharan Africans heading to Europe.
There were some 34,000 arrivals of illegal immigrants in Italy in 2020, over 67,000 in 2021, and over 104,000 in 2022, a trend that the new Meloni government is now trying hard to reverse.
The Spanish prime minister and his allies, however, seem to be on a very different trajectory. In 2018, Pedro Sánchez managed to oust the center-right government of Mariano Rajoy to install a left-wing government, with the support of the far-left Unidas Podemos party as well as Catalonia and the Basque Country’s pro-independence parties. The number of illegal immigrants jumped from 21,971 in 2017 to 57,498 in 2018. Sánchez then reverted, to some extent, to the stricter policies of his predecessor, and by 2022 his government had managed to bring the number of illegal immigrants back down to 28,930.
Last week, however, Spain’s Congress of Deputies put on the agenda a citizens’ bill that aims to legalize the stay of all illegal immigrants who have been in the country since before November 2021. According to the NGO “Regularización Ya” (Regularization Now) that has put forward the bill, this would concern over half a million illegal immigrants now residing in Spain. The Socialists’ coalition partner Unidas Podemos is in favor of the bill, as are the smaller far-left parties and pro-independence regional parties whose support is essential for Sánchez to have a majority in parliament.
Meanwhile, the Confederación Nacional de la Construcción (CNC), which represents companies from the country’s construction sector, is calling on the government to issue visas to half a million foreigners who would be willing to work in Spain.
It should be remembered that population replacement in more “advanced” immigration countries such as France, Britain and Germany had its beginnings in the pressure exerted by companies on their respective governments in the early 1970s to bring in economic immigrants who would fill the gaps and allow employers to keep wages as low as possible.
A few weeks ago, the Spanish government issued a decree allowing for the regularization of the situation of illegal immigrants who choose to attend vocational training courses. Such illegals will be delivered temporary residence permits that will be renewed upon completing their course and obtaining an employment contract. Such a path to regularizing one’s situation is now open to all immigrants who have been staying illegally in Spain for at least two years.
On the legal immigration front, the Sánchez government reformed Spain’s law on foreigners last year to make it easier for aliens to legally get jobs. This is despite Spain having the EU’s highest rate of unemployment. The reform will also facilitate family regrouping, an important tool used by Western European governments that has led to immigration getting out of control; regroupings allow these states to proceed with what French author Renaud Camus called “the Great Replacement” to describe the ongoing population replacement in his own country due to decades of high immigration and low natality.
With a fertility rate of 1.3, Spain’s birth rate has been among Europe’s lowest for years, and not long ago the country’s leading center-left newspaper, El País, explained to its readers that the country would need 7 million additional immigrants in the next three decades to make up for the lack of children and ensure continued economic prosperity.
In mid-January, the Spanish media published new data showing that in three-quarters of the country´s provinces, there are now more new immigrants than new babies each year. Center-right El Confidencial, the first to mention this data, described the situation by writing in big letters under its title that “Spanish society is undergoing a process of transformation similar to what other countries have gone through before, with the potential to change the political, economic and cultural map of the country.”
Like France’s Emmanuel Macron and probably with the same motives, Pedro Sánchez and his far-left partners seem to be seeking just that. This is bound to create further tensions within the European Union as Central European countries, which are strongly attached to their national identity after decades of communism and Soviet domination, prefer pro-natality policies over mass immigration.