The leader of the PP in Catalonia, Alicia Sánchez Camacho, has presented her party’s latest proposals on immigration. She chose Santa Coloma de Gramenet, an area with a high number of immigrants, to announce that the PP proposes that new immigrants coming to Spain must return to their home countries following a period of unemployment.
She said that immigration could not be regarded in the same way as before when unemployment was at 7% given that it had now risen to 20% and that those immigrants who wanted to work in Catalonia should be committed to abiding by Spanish law and respect the values and customs of the country.
She also said that they should learn the official languages of Catalonia and try and integrate themselves and return to their home countries if after a period of time they find themselves out of work. However, Sánchez Camacho did not specify what this ‘period’ of time should be before an immigrant needed to return home if they are unemployed.
In reply to these proposals the president of the Catalan regional government, José Montilla, said that they were ‘xenophobic’ and that the PP had stooped very low to try and win over voters in the forthcoming regional elections due to be held later on this month.
The PP has caused further controversy in Catalonia by proposing to regulate access to health services for immigrants. However, family doctors presented a report last week which showed that immigrants use the health service 40% less than the rest of the population.
The results of a recent survey show that immigrants living in Spain place health in sixth place on their list of concerns although 60% of those questions said that their health had improved since living in Spain.