The small Catalonian town of Vic passed an ordinance on Wednesday that prohibits illegal immigrants from registering on the municipality’s rolls — a compulsory norm for all who live in Spanish territory.
The conservative Catalan Nationalists (CiU), with support of the Catalan Socialists (PSC) and Catalan Republicans (ERC) decided that in this town, where 24%of inhabitants are foreigners of almost ninety different nationalities, anyone who has not already begun the process of getting work or residence permits, will not be allowed on the town’s residential register.
In other words, the so-called “sin papeles” of Vic will not be guaranteed the right to basic public services such as education and health care.
What this really means is that the town council of Vic is saying to these immigrants “You are lucky to work here and get paid an often sub-standard wage, but if you get sick or have children you do not exist. We want your labour but we don’t like you getting anything more than just enough to live on, in return. You can fix our streets or put up our buildings but don’t go thinking you are equal with the rest of us.”
It is likely to be of no comfort to illegal migrants here that Spain’s central government does not approve of the new ordinance in Vic, with Labour and Immigration Minister Celestino Corbacho saying he will adopt a “wait and see” approach. In the meantime, it will simply mean that many “sin papeles” will have little option but to try and move elsewhere, possibly to neighbouring areas.