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The Fight against Illegal Immigration, Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings in Spain: Ambiguities and Rhetoric

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Chapter Summary

Immigration is still a relatively new phenomenon in Spain and its rapid growth in last six years has led to puzzlement and confusion in Spanish society and political elite. In Spain there have been no debates on ways to integrate immigrants or on their effect on welfare system or on public security. Undoubtedly there is an occupational gap in the Spanish work market which is being covered by immigrants to such an extent that some sectors, such as irrigation agriculture or construction could not survive without foreign labour. The fight against trafficking and smuggling in Spain must be understood within this framework of contradictions and in context of symbolic, declarative or rhetorical politics. This chapter deals with the policies devoted to prevent illegal immigration and combat the trafficking and smuggling of immigrants during the period 1998 to 2004, the one which experienced the biggest flow of immigration in Spanish history.

Keywords: foreign labour; illegal immigration; rhetorical politics; smuggling; Spain; Spanish work market; trafficking



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