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EU RECOGNIZES IMMIGRATION DAMAGES THE IMAGE OF ALMERÍA

The European Parliament is currently working on the development of new immigration regulations governing the presence of workers from non EU countries, so-called ‘temporary’ immigrants, who come into the community, in many cases, in search of seasonal …

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Farmworkers in Almeria

The European Parliament is currently working on the development of new immigration regulations governing the presence of workers from non EU countries, so-called ‘temporary’ immigrants, who come into the community, in many cases, in search of seasonal work.

The EU do so with a double objective: on the one hand they need to ensure that the labor and social rights of the immigrants are respected throughout the community, and on the other they are attempting to set caps on the length of stay of these workers in European countries so that they return to their countries of origin upon completion of their temporary contracts.

In the case of Almeria the politicians accept that the situation is slightly different and that, in recent years, immigration has become a weapon that is often used against the commercial interests of the main productive sector, agriculture.

The socialist MEP Alejandro Cercas, says that the media regularly carry out collective campaigns that show a very negative picture of the treatment of immigrants in the province. Both Cercas and fellow MEP Veronica Lope Fontagné, from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and a member of the Partido Popular, explained that there are regular smear campaigns, some from within the Parliament, which are often aimed at the ‘model Almería’ farm.

Cercas explained that some years ago inferior plant health, unacceptable pesticide residues, many thousands of undocumented worker arrivals and their quality issues were common problems in Almeria, but now, the quality of local produce has been improved beyond bounds and for the most part, the influx of immigrants and their management, especially North Africans, is now under control, although the circumstances regarding the few illegal’s that still manage to get into the province is blown completely out of proportion and is still actually harming the economic interests of the province.

He says that the problem exists in the situation of the minority of immigrants who enter the province illegally, but in the opinion of the MEPs it is an immigration control problem and not one created by the agricultural sector.

But what happens is that the journalists who come from the European media to compile their reports try only to sensationalize their stories. They speak only to the immigrants who are hiding from the authorities and not to the thousands of immigrants who are legally present and well integrated in the communities.

And that is precisely the basis on which lies the decision of the European Parliament and the Commission to draw up new rules to regulate the status of immigrants.

This would facilitate the arrival of immigrants under control, in a situation that is fully regularized, and aimed specifically at preventing the arrival of illegal immigrants that create problems ranging from the attention of healthcare to industrial disputes, safety and a problem with the deterioration of the image of Almería and its agricultural products.

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