Social and institutional racism in the Spanish state: Is "institutional racism" at the root of "social racism"?

Social and institutional racism in the Spanish state: Is


The rules of the Spanish State on immigration limit the right to work, residence, health care, Social Security and Social Services, personal privacy, family life, education, suffrage , to legal security, equality before the law, the presumption of innocence and freedom, promoting control and violation of privacy, discrimination in administrative procedures, criminalization of aid to irregular immigration ... hardening for this, police methods and treatment.

The action of state policies on immigration has focused, in addition to the application of the Aliens Act and its Regulations, on putting into practice all the measures that the externalization of the borders of the European Union entails and on maintaining and reinforce discriminatory measures for the migrant population living in Spain, both in a regular and irregular situation.

The political debate on immigration between the two main parties has taken on perverse overtones and has focused on who has managed to expel the most foreigners or who has had the toughest hand with illegal immigrants. And the discriminatory action culminated in June 2008 with the support of the government and the majority of Spanish parliamentarians in the European Parliament for the European Return Directive, aptly called the "Directive of Shame".

At the same time, the existence and progress of racism and xenophobia among the indigenous population, as well as the increase in the percentage of people who see immigration as a problem, seems evident.

In view of the above, from the Center for the Defense and Study of Human Rights (CEDEHU) we raised the following debate: Does it promote "institutional racism", "social racism"?

We present the fundamental ideas of a broader work that appears at and in which we have considered analyzing:

1.- The existence in the Spanish State of a strong charge of “institutional racism”.

2.- The way in which discriminatory attitudes towards the non-community immigrant population are perceived in significant areas of social life.

3.- How “institutional racism” -in which we include political discourse amplified by the media- influences and is one of the fundamental causes of these situations of “social racism”.

Social racism is fundamentally based on:

- The fear and dangerousness attributed to a social group.

- The belief of unfair competition of immigrants in the workplace that generates unemployment and lowers the wage level.

- The opinion that the deterioration of public services is due to the increase in the number of users.
- The loss of national identity.

- The assumption that there are too many people and that they belong to conflicting and backward cultures.

We focus in this exhibition on the regulations, security policies and institutional discourse, mentioning other areas of significant social discrimination to finally make proposals for action.

As a paradigmatic case of institutional racism that generates social racism, we stop at the Law of extraterritorial persecution of irregular immigration.


Discriminations based on national origin that debase the political system and enshrine solid apartheid mechanisms are regulated, among other norms, in the Penal Code, the Aliens Law and its development regulations, the Law regulating the Bases of the Local Regime, the Law of the Legal Regime of Public Administrations and of the Common Administrative Procedure, in addition to the rules and directives of the European Union.

These regulations limit the right to work, residence, health care, Social Security and Social Services, personal privacy, family life, education, suffrage, legal security, equality before the law, the presumption of innocence and freedom, promoting the control and violation of privacy, discrimination in administrative procedures, the criminalization of aid to irregular immigration ... by hardening police methods and treatment for this .

The awareness of this discrimination is evident in the ruling of the Constitutional Court of November 2007, which declared unconstitutional the limitations of the freedoms of assembly and demonstration, of association and of strike, which were also denied to undocumented persons.

Security policies

The normative and political treatment of the migrant population in the aspects of security and control is undoubtedly a key factor in the generation of social racism.

The migrated population is treated as a social category subject to special measures of extraordinary penalties and control - with fewer guarantees for migrant citizens from any kind of Administration - which creates an image of a dangerous social group and justifies special actions based on alleged emergencies and threats to security.

However, the widespread social perception that immigration has increased citizen insecurity does not correspond to reality: Between 2002 and 2006, immigration grew by 86% while the number of crimes per inhabitant decreased by 22.7%.

Let's look at some examples of how these insights are generated:

The regulations authorize a special control and the violation of privacy: they oblige registration every two years, allow the transfer of data between administrations and the police access to the registry data and establish the obligation to notify the Ministry of the Interior of changes in nationality, marital status and domicile.

Although irregular immigration is not a crime, the Constitutional Court has ruled that the police can stop a person simply because they have a "non-Spanish" phenotype, which basically legalizes racist and discriminatory practices on the grounds that a person who does not appears to be Spanish, she may be an undocumented foreigner, and thus she may be required to identify herself, being the "ideal" mechanism for the control of illegal migratory flows.

According to the research by Daniel Wagman, Group of Studies and Alternatives 21, -presented in 2006 at the European Commission Seminar "Security forces and ethnic minorities, immigrants and gypsies" - entitled "Racial Profile in Spain, research and recommendations "," a chief of the National Police in Madrid said that of an average of 800 arrests carried out in his district, 80% were immigrants or foreigners. " Added to this permanent harassment of the migrant population are the special operations through which the security forces carry out “immigrant hunting” operations, raids in parks, entertainment venues, phone booths or other places frequented by the immigrant population.

If these people are intercepted in a way that is disproportionate to the majority population, the number of arrests they suffer also increases disproportionately, without any relation to the criminal activity of these groups.

The high numbers of detained persons among the population groups that present characteristics different from the majority, constitutes one of the foundations on which the belief in the supposed high criminal activity of these groups is based.

The report indicates that between 1997 and 2003 more than 350,000 people were arrested for lack of documentation.

In this way, the police verify their erroneous hypothesis consisting of holding certain minority groups responsible for greater criminal activity and transmit it to society, maintaining the most harmful racist myth about minorities: that they are conflictive, criminal groups, and constitute a danger for society.

We emphasize that in the information supplied by the police to the press, group crime is systematically characterized as "mafia" and a biased treatment is given to youth gangs.

Another piece of information that is being considered for the attribution of criminal activity to the migrant population is its over-representation in prisons; Given this, it should be noted that if the statistics of foreign prisoners are deducted from preventive incarcerations (without a sentence passed) as well as tourists and people passing through, the number is reduced by more than half and reaches a rate very close to its population weight.

In order to analyze the over-representation in prison, it is necessary to take into account the treatment given by the judges regarding provisional freedoms, and the fact that legal assistance is exercised largely by ex officio lawyers who do not always have sufficient resources.

There are a worrying number of documented cases of ill-treatment, torture and even deaths at the hands of the police:

The Documentation Center Against Torture, in its 2007 report includes 321 situations in which attacks and / or mistreatment occurred against 697 persons deprived of liberty or at the time of being detained, of which 102 correspond to the migrant population, indicating that this population is reluctant to report; this allows us to assume that the proportion may be higher.

For its part, a study published by SOS Racismo indicates that in one out of every three cases of racist violence in Spain "those responsible were state officials in charge of enforcing the law."

The political-media discourse

Discourse is one of the most influential elements in the creation of mentalities and states of opinion. The institutions issue a discourse that is channeled through the media and received by the population, whose opinion in turn feeds the discourse of the institutions in a vicious circle.

Those who have the political responsibility to break the circle are the institutions, since they have the power to launch the first message.

Political discourse, of whatever type, as well as the media are in a privileged position for the generation of social racism.

Aspects related to institutional racism in political discourse (understood as the manifestations of both members of the executive and the legislature, in the performance of their functions) and in the media, present a series of peculiarities, already noted by Teun van Dijk , which is necessary to highlight:

1.- Concealment: use of discursive structures that cover up racism:

- apparent denial (refusing to postulate a racist position, but the structure of the sentence denotes latent racism): "we have nothing against foreigners, but ..."

- apparent concession (it is intended to give a friendly image towards the minority, thereby concealing a negative attitude towards it): "there are also good foreigners, but in general ..."

- apparent empathy (starting from an almost understood understanding of the problem of minorities to go on to show an attitude of rejection): "of course it is sad for refugees, but ..."

- transfer (somehow the responsibility is transferred to another): "I have nothing against foreigners, but my clients ..."

2.- Verisimilitude: the speech must be presented as coherent, and said coherence as plausible, that is, there must be a relationship between cause and consequence, although the coherence does not respond to reality, for example, by saying that the highest unemployment among the minorities is due to their lack of qualification, although it is not true, the discourse is coherent.

3.- Lexis: Threatening expressions are chosen with terms such as invasion, tsunami, surge, assault and passive phrases are used in which the receiving country is the victim, with emphatic repetition of the topics (“illegal”), use of pronouns personal ("our", our country compared to those who come from abroad), and numbers are provided to give an image of objectivity (number of immigrants who have arrived in recent times) using a stereotypical presentation (immigrants violate the law, it seems that systematically). In general terms are never used explicitly racist, but with negative connotations.

4.- Use of surveys: the usual practice of referring to surveys perverts the opinion of citizens, since to a large extent the surveys reflect the opinion projected by the institutions or groups of power through the media. At the same time, the very construction of the surveys encourages responses not contemplated by the people surveyed. The feedback that implies the projection of opinions biased by racist beliefs by politicians and the media and the measurement of their incidence in the population, generates the legitimation of discriminatory and racist policies and at the same time the dissemination of their results reinforces the tendencies that they want to promote themselves.

5.- Aspects on which they pronounce: new arrival of immigrants (especially irregular), immigration policies, reception problems, social problems, response of the population, cultural characterization (they are different, and that difference constitutes in some way a deviation ), threats, political response and integration difficulties. That is, fundamentally negative aspects.

Thus, among many other examples, on June 26 an article appeared in the press (EL PAÍS newspaper) on the European Return Directive entitled "Zapatero dismisses those who attack the immigration directive as ignorant", which included statements by the Prime Minister as: "[criticism of the directive] can only come from supine ignorance or irresponsible demagogy" and was supplemented three days later with an interview with the same medium. In the speech of the Prime Minister, we find argumentative structures analyzed by Van Dijk: "although he would have liked a better rule, he assured that it is" a very important advance "since it establishes limits and guarantees for the expulsion of illegal immigrants." The expulsion of illegals is presented as a positive act, indeed, as a "very important advance."

This article is representative for the various aspects that are combined in it: on the one hand, the explicit and systematic denial of a possible xenophobic position in the board and in the opinion itself. On the other, the argument in favor of the directive that presents it as coherent in relation to the current situation of the migrant population and as protector, and in a certain way paternalistic, in relation to it.
The supposedly coherent discourse (jurisdictional guarantees for the return and stay of immigrants, in this case a forced stay of up to 18 months, as a synonym for progressivism) joins the denial once again of a possible position contrary to Human Rights.

To the journalist's question: "The fact that, for the first time, it is said in a legal text that someone can be detained for up to 18 months without having committed any crime, is it not a disaster for the European democratic tradition?" It is followed by the following response: “It is not a disaster, it is progress. I would have liked the time limit to be less, that there were more jurisdictional guarantees, yes, of course, but it cannot be said to be a disaster. Unlike".

Thus, in political discourse, the forced internment of a person who has not committed crimes is considered progress and should not be understood in any case as criminalization of immigration.

Two days later an article published in the same newspaper by the MEP of the socialist group Maria Muñiz de Urquiza slipped the point of threat, albeit subtle, presented by the uncontrolled increase in immigrants by introducing the issue of "unsustainable" pressure on the system social services, including one of the aspects with which the population is most sensitized and which is most considered a threat to the autochthonous: future pensions.

The denial of xenophobia in the discourse of the political class can also be observed in statements by the leader of the opposition, Mariano Rajoy (collected by the same newspaper on June 25), which, by showing his support for the affirmative position of the Government in relation to the directive, declared: "I will not call you xenophobic for this. Moreover, I will offer my support, because neither we were when we proposed it nor I believe that you are so to rectify now." The discourse of the opposition, like that of the Government, tries to remove the possible shadow of xenophobia by openly declaring that it is not racist. Support for the directive is based on this type of discourse in an argument that supports its benefits.

As we have seen both in the theoretical aspects related to racism in the discourse and in the analysis of statements, especially from the political class, there is a tendency to show a generally veiled xenophobic or negative attitude towards the migrant population.

This trend is materialized in a series of argumentative strategies that are repeated and transfer a message to the population that can lead to the generation of social racism.

It is its own subtlety (no politician, nor any newspaper worth its salt as a non-ultraconservative sign, will make statements of the type “out all immigrants”) and the fact that the argument is always presented as a coherent discourse that seeks the benefit of the native population and migrated, is what makes it, in our opinion, more influential in the mentality of the recipient. However, not because it is subtle and argued it is less decisive in supporting certain policies that ignore the issue of human rights; This discourse is, therefore, a breeding ground for the generation of social racism.

Likewise, it seems important to us to point out that when immigration is treated from a positive point of view, (of course regular immigration pretending to ignore that a large part of the people who are in a regular situation today have been irregular at some point or have been able to migrate regularly due to the fact that others made their way by immigrating irregularly) what stands out is their contribution to Spanish society and the benefits they report to the native population. They will pay our pensions, stop demographic aging, take care of dependent people, do the jobs we do not want ..., delving into the utilitarian vision of immigration and reinforcing stereotypes such as considering the immigrant population as cheap labor, and second-rate people at the service of the native population.

Unfortunately, this utilitarian and ignorant discourse on Human Rights is repeated by organizations and people who do not consider themselves racist, even by organizations that support the rights of the migrant population, and associations of immigrants and migrant people.

The media use similar strategies and play an important role in disseminating discourse and creating meaning. Mª Ángeles Cea, quoting Zapata-Barrero, concludes that: “although it is often emphasized that the media have a determining influence in their socializing function and as managers of public opinion, they also play a legitimizing function, which is often neglected. The media in this second function provide arguments to justify discourses about immigration and legitimize concrete ways of managing the multicultural process ”.

We point out that the media choose what they want to give greater importance to and, within each topic, which aspects are going to stand out, and depending on the type of news they place it in one place or another.

The most abundant news stories about ethnic minorities tend to be of the same type as that used in political speeches, conveying ideas that present immigration as a problem and a threat.

The immigrant population is observed: they rarely appear as people who express opinions and who have an individual trajectory, but rather they are presented confused within the nickname applicable to the group targeted by the news, and on few occasions the minorities are given the floor.

A very clarifying example

As a paradigmatic case of institutional racism -in the aspects discussed- that generates social racism, let us see the Law of extraterritorial persecution of irregular immigration. (THE

The Law that came into force on November 21 of the same year and went unnoticed comes to equate irregular or clandestine immigration with very serious crimes such as Genocide, Terrorism, forced trafficking for slavery, the sale of people, drug trafficking and other crimes of special gravity.

This Law pursues the goal that Spanish police officers can intercept the boats or cayucos before reaching the Spanish coasts and with it it is not only a matter of preventing them from reaching Spanish territory, but also that they may leave irregularly " without papers ”from their own countries or third countries.

The justifying alibi is articulated through the intellectual and legal misery of equating irregular immigration with the forced trafficking of people for their exploitation, by the mafias.

The strategy consists of inventing the mafias, as the subject that promotes, controls and benefits from illegal or clandestine immigration, "organized crime"; it is about selling the idea that immigrants “without papers” are victims of the mafias and therefore they must be saved from their networks.
Thus and not long ago, in 2007, the Vice President of the Government said with satisfaction that
Several thousand irregular immigrants who arrived in the Canary Islands had been repatriated, and in recent months more than 700 mafias had been dismantled (you heard right: 700 mafias!). In addition to the crude and frenzied exaggeration of the expression, the use of the term mafias is not accidental, since it refers in the collective imagination to the use of violence, forced transfer or transportation, merciless exploitation, and ultimately to the old slavery.

With greater crudeness Rumí –authentic whip and scourge of the “undocumented” - proclaimed, without flinching, that the “mafias” were forcing them to embark on “canoes and boats”.

But such a stereotype is not true, and it is enough to point out the memory of the chilling images, widely published on T.V. and photographic reports of the thousands of human beings camped in the forests around Ceuta and Melilla making rudimentary ladders to jump over barbed wire fences, at the risk of their integrity or even their lives without the intervention of any “mafia”.

In a fallacious and false manner, Organic Law 13/2007 tries to equate slavery and coercion, which make up the set of crimes related to forced trafficking of human beings, with irregular or “undocumented” immigration in order to seek an interested alibi that legitimizes racism institutional underlying, appealing to the need to protect the victims to propose punishment and persecution of the "undocumented" themselves.

For this reason, it constitutes an insult to intelligence and humanitarian sensitivity, to ignore that the vast majority of immigrants "without papers" and irregular migratory flows, are articulated in voluntary routes out of their countries, and are not forced by " mafias ”to do so, nor are they unaware of the risks involved in embarking on boats or cayucos or old boats.

Certainly the departure and transport in such means, not in airplanes or buses, constitute irregular modes of transport-travel, but it is no less true that the vast majority are those who want to migrate who build or buy their boats, through collective or individual contributions , and it is the immigrants themselves who, with rudimentary knowledge of navigation and the aid of instruments such as GPS, undertake the trips to the Spanish coast or other European countries.

Thus, the false discourse of the “mafias” is presented as an alibi to justify authoritarianism, repression and the persecution of the “undocumented”.

The vast majority of the media have accepted the alibi, and irresponsibly or deliberately, it has contributed to the intensification of the pseudo-culture of fear and to the confusion of large sectors of the indigenous population, through the insidious assimilation of crime to immigration irregular in order to justify the war against the undocumented.

Recently, the current Spanish Government has dedicated itself to giving away (with the euphemism of donations) boats, planes and helicopters to certain African countries to encourage them to hunt down and capture irregular immigrants, and an example of this are the gifts of three planes of C-212 surveillance to Senegal, Cape Verde and Mauritania and of eight patrol vessels to Senegal and Mauritania, as well as all-terrain vehicles and field equipment.

The consequences of such a war against the "undocumented" are obvious. Greater difficulties, greater hardships, more deaths, more suffering, more expensive irregular transport services, a fierce inhuman treatment of the people who are captured, either by abandoning them in the deserts, or by confining them in concentration camps, or by returning them to third countries.

Analytically, Organic Law 13/2007, by means of the persecution and repression of irregular immigration, connects with the guidelines for the conformation of rampant institutional racism in the European Union. By associating irregular immigration with “crime and mafias”, it is a matter of denying that migratory projects are, in an absolute majority, the product of individual or collective decision-making (family or group), and that only the impossibility of doing so regularly determines the use of networks - more or less organized - for the transit of people.

Indeed, to the extent that the “undocumented” are stripped of their status as subjects, the police-militarized policies to control flows may be presented as aimed at protecting their “lives” by inverting reality.

This approach involves “undocumented” immigrants in a denigrating spiral, in which censorship-punishment for irregularity is coupled with identification with organized transnational crime, either as irregular-criminals, or as victims of criminals , but in any case related to these.

In turn, there is a tendency to criminalize immigrants' own social networks and the criminalization of solidarity is reinforced.

The previous reflections and considerations allow us to conclude that the existence of social racism or xenophobia is not an autonomous product of the individual being, but that its generation and expansion is caused by the normative production of racism and institutional xenophobia.


As we have seen, the State encourages inequality among people by decreeing and drafting discriminatory laws, creating and applying exclusionary policies, persecuting and expelling those who cannot meet impossible requirements, and using the media to disseminate a political discourse. apparently sensible to justify discriminatory treatment of non-community immigrants.

Institutionally, the repressive apparatus against citizens whose only crime is being foreigners is set in motion, walls and barbed wire are put up to prevent entry, they are locked up in Internment Centers, they are expelled applying inhuman and degrading practices, they are converted transporters into para-military agents, whoever helps an undocumented person is penalized, extraterritorially persecuted, detained without reason for ethnic profiling, privacy is violated, treated as a criminal, criminalized; the message that there is an invasion and security problem due to immigration is being transmitted to society and social racism is increasing.

Institutionally, the population is confused by manipulating information to generate rejection and fear, the political discourse is racist: do not enter, we must expel, our rights are violated, no more regularizations, etc. and they confront rights of one @ s with rights of others; the message of fear and immigration is being transferred to society as one of the “main problems” that concern citizens, social racism is increasing.

Institutionally, the actions of the police and their statements, as well as the speeches of politicians, propagate a vision of immigration as a source of conflict, crime and crime, using statistics that are not rigorous and objective or misinterpreted, which transmits to society the idea that immigrants constitute a potential danger and that social racism is encouraged.

Other areas of institutional racism

In many other aspects, in addition to those we have developed, there is discriminatory treatment that transmits to society an image of the migrant population and of the consequences of immigration that generate social racism:

Institucionalmente se multiplican los trámites para cualquier asunto de la vida civil –obtener y renovar los permisos, empadronarse, reagrupar familiares, obtener la tarjeta sanitaria, escolarizar a menores, optar a los servicios públicos, convalidar títulos académicos, contraer matrimonio, inscribir a [email protected] [email protected]– lo que sobrecarga las oficinas de atención, tanto las exclusivas como las comunes con el resto de la población, lo que contribuye a que se les atribuya la responsabilidad de colas y demoras y aumente el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se mantienen unos medios escandalosamente insuficientes en la atención a los trámites de extranjería lo que genera la visión de que es consecuencia de su pertenencia a categorías sociales inferiores de personas inferiores con menor derecho a ser atendidas y se fomenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente la política educativa fomenta los guetos en determinados colegios públicos (el 82,5% estudia en centros públicos) sin realizar dotación presupuestaria para refuerzo, se imposibilita continuar los estudios a los mayores de 16 años con progenitores en situación irregular, se orienta a la formación profesional o a trabajar desde esa edad en la economía sumergida, con lo cual se está trasladando a la sociedad el mensaje de que [email protected] [email protected] de nacionales es mejor que vayan a colegios privados o concertados, porque en los públicos con gran número de inmigrantes baja el nivel y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se mantiene un modelo educativo etnocentrista, no se facilitan al profesorado materiales y formación para promover el respeto y el interés por conocer diferentes maneras de convivir y facilitar la dignidad y el reconocimiento de todos los miembros de una sociedad. Se está contaminando a la sociedad con ideas de tipo segregacionista o asimilacionista, y se contribuye así a incrementar el rechazo y el racismo social.

Institucionalmente no se respetan los derechos de niños y niñas, tratando a [email protected] menores inmigrantes no acompañ[email protected] antes como migrantes que como menores, buscando su expulsión y vulnerando derechos fundamentales: se está fomentando en la sociedad la idea de que si no los echan, esos menores que se “cuelan” serán futuros “raterillos”, y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente no se ha ratificado el Convención de la ONU sobre la protección de los Derechos de los Trabajadores Migratorios y sus familias y se ignoran los acuerdos internacionales antidiscriminatorios, no poniendo los medios que frenen la escalada de violencia racista en los centros escolares y la aparición de bandas violentas lo que constituye una responsabilidad grave por parte de la Administración en el aumento del racismo social.

Institucionalmente se favorece el trabajo en la economía sumergida y sólo se valora la productividad económica de las personas trabajadoras extranjeras, se exige para residir y trabajar un permiso de trabajo con requisitos incompatibles con el funcionamiento del mercado laboral, se considera la inmigración sólo como mano de obra, seleccionando la que interesa, supeditando los permisos a que no haya población autóctona en paro para esa actividad -lo que conlleva que cientos de miles de personas estén abocadas a la irregularidad-, se penaliza el trabajo irregular con una orden de expulsión; se traslada a la sociedad el mensaje de que quitan puestos de trabajo, hacen que bajen los salarios (como si la población inmigrante fuera causa del proceso de precarización y no victimas), y que puede haber un problema en la situación laboral de nacionales por lo que es mejor tener a [email protected] inmigrantes en situación de “vasallaje”, considerando el poder trabajar como un privilegio, no como un derecho, y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se infrautilizan las capacidades profesionales de las personas trabajadoras extranjeras discriminándolas en el acceso al empleo, concentrándolas en los sectores de trabajo menos remunerados –restricciones a empleos públicos, cupos, temporeras-, lo que transmite a la sociedad una desconfianza hacia sus capacidades, considerándolas como “al servicio” de las autóctonas, y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se criminaliza a la población inmigrante a causa de la inestabilidad jurídica en la que se la sitúa, puesto que su consideración dentro o fuera de la “legalidad” depende de la situación laboral, y se califica la situación de irregularidad como “ilegal”. Por tanto se está criminalizando y transmitiendo a la sociedad la idea de que algo “malo” habrá hecho y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se impide la vida familiar poniendo obstáculos a la reagrupación familiar y se traslada a la sociedad el mensaje de que serían ya [email protected] lo que conllevaría más gasto social, que el poder vivir en familia es un privilegio que tiene que ganarse a base de años y aumenta el racismo social.
Institucionalmente se discrimina por razón de origen y se instaura la presunción de sospecha sobre los matrimonios mixtos y quienes pretenden contraer matrimonio con nacionales tienen serias dificultades para hacerlo, tienen que demostrar no ante su pareja si no ante la Administración sus motivaciones; se les convierte en sospechosas de hacerlo por motivos espurios, de estar actuando en fraude de ley y sus sentimientos hacia su pareja son puestos en cuestión, lo que aumenta la desconfianza y potencia el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se utiliza una necesidad básica como la vivienda como medio de control, se ponen obstáculos para trabajar “legalmente”, para empadronarse, se transmite la idea de delincuencia simplemente por no tener unos “papeles”, se fomentan el miedo y la sensación de inseguridad de los propietarios de viviendas para alquilárselas a inmigrantes y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se favorece a ciertos sectores económicos disminuyendo los costes laborales al mantener a una numerosa población laboral en situación irregular sin poder cotizar a la seguridad social, anulando su derecho a las prestaciones socio-sanitarias y trasladando el mensaje de que se les atiende por “caridad”, y que ello tiene un coste social, cuando realmente se les niega la posibilidad de acceso a cotizar y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se manipula la precaria situación de la administración de justicia estableciendo una relación de causa-efecto entre la falta de capacidad del sistema judicial y los recursos que presenta la población inmigrante. Es sistemática la producción de resoluciones administrativas, emanadas de órganos policiales y gubernativos, sin fundamento ni motivación, fruto de la arbitrariedad del sub-sistema policial; frente a la arbitrariedad, la falta de motivación y la ilegalidad formal o material, las personas inmigrantes ejercen el derecho al recurso, que forma parte del derecho a la tutela judicial efectiva, y se les culpa de la carga de trabajo y el desbordamiento de la capacidad de respuesta rápida de los Jueces y Tribunales y aumenta el racismo social.

Institucionalmente se crea una categoría de ciudadanos sin derecho a sufragio, a la población migrante no se le permite votar ni ser elegibles en las elecciones municipales, autonómicas ni generales, se traslada a la sociedad el mensaje de que en cuestión de “ciudadanía”, hay [email protected] de 1ª, de 2ª, de 3ª,…y “no [email protected]”, considerando los derechos de ciudadanía como un privilegio que hay que alcanzar, no como derechos de las personas, de todas; y aumenta el racismo social.

En todos estos ámbitos y en otros ya que la exposición no es exhaustiva se evidencia cómo el racismo institucional está en la raíz del racismo social, lo genera e influye en su crecimiento.


Si no se toman medidas drásticas para acabar con el racismo institucional, en el sentido de dar un vuelco al enfoque actual de las legislaciones y políticas del Estado Español –y por supuesto de la Unión Europea- sobre el hecho migratorio, estarán gravemente dañados, tanto en el presente como de cara al futuro, la convivencia de las personas, la confianza y solidaridad internacional y los Derechos Humanos, por lo que proponemos:

1.-A nivel legislativo: Igualdad ante la Ley.

– Derogación de la legislación específica: Ley de Extranjería y Reglamento, así como de los artículos que discriminan a las personas extranjeras en toda la normativa legal del Estado Español y de la Unión Europea.

– Derogación de la Ley para la persecución extraterritorial del tráfico ilegal o la inmigración clandestina y anulación del Protocolo policial de repatriaciones.

– Ratificación de la Convención Internacional sobre la Protección de los Derechos de Todos los Trabajadores Migratorios y de sus Familiares.

– Cumplimiento inmediato y efectivo de los acuerdos internacionales suscritos por España en materia de asilo y derecho de [email protected] [email protected] inmigrantes.

– Creación de una legislación integral contra el racismo y la xenofobia.

– Regularización de quienes están en territorio español, sin condicionarla a contar con un contrato de trabajo; eliminación de la imposición legal de obtener permiso de trabajo y de residencia para poder trabajar y residir legalmente.

– Eliminación de la sanción de expulsión por estar en situación irregular, máxime a quien denuncie irregularidades laborales, abusos policiales, agresiones xenófobas o violencia de género.

– Cierre y desmantelamiento de los Centros de Internamiento para Extranjeros.

– Reconocimiento efectivo del derecho a vivir en familia, que la persona inmigrante decida libremente qué familiares quiere reagrupar y que éstos tengan desde su llegada todos los derechos.

– Modificación de la Constitución para el reconocimiento del derecho al sufragio activo y pasivo, sin condicionamiento a la reciprocidad.

2.-A nivel de actuaciones administrativas:

– Puesta en práctica de los mandatos antidiscriminatorios a que obligan las directivas europeas, en particular la 43/2000, creando el organismo especializado de lucha contra el racismo.

– Tratamiento de [email protected] menores extranjeros no acompañados como menores y no como inmigrantes y que se haga efectivo el interés superior del menor y sea acorde con los derechos del Niño y con los Derechos Humanos.

– Cese de las actuaciones policiales arbitrarias y discriminatorias de controles de documentación, detenciones, redadas, secuestro de pasaportes y expulsiones.

– Erradicación inmediata de la tortura, de los tratos crueles, inhumanos o degradantes y los abusos policiales; cese de la impunidad y exigencia de responsabilidades penales para quienes los realicen.

– Derogación de las medidas de control especiales como la renovación del padrón, el acceso de la policía a los datos del mismo y la obligación de notificar a la policía cambios en el estado civil, domicilio, etc.

– Reconocimiento del tiempo trabajado en la economía sumergida y los correspondientes derechos, cuando se detecte un empleo sin alta en la Seguridad Social, con obligación de las empresas a la cotización y sin sancionar a la persona trabajadora.

– Medidas para la igualdad de oportunidades en el empleo.

– Procedimientos administrativos: eliminar las discriminaciones, fin de la multiplicidad de trámites, normas acordes con la realidad y dotación de medios a las oficinas de extranjería.

– Resoluciones administrativas fundadas y ajustadas a derecho.

– Tratamiento no discriminatorio por parte de los juzgados en lo relativo a libertades provisionales.

– Formación y refuerzo del turno de oficio de [email protected] [email protected] de extranjería.

– Trámites para matrimonios mixtos iguales al resto.

– No discriminación en el acceso a la seguridad social, sanidad y a los servicios sociales al margen de cualquier situación administrativa.

3.- A nivel social, educativo y cultural:

– Medidas efectivas para evitar las escuelas gueto, dotación presupuestaria y de personal en los colegios con gran número de alumnos con necesidades especiales; reconocimiento del derecho a proseguir los estudios y obtener las titulaciones correspondientes al margen de la situación administrativa; formación del profesorado y cuantas medidas sean necesarias para garantizar la igualdad de oportunidades y la educación intercultural.

– Revisión de los textos escolares sobre la base de respeto a las culturas y civilizaciones y del análisis de la Historia desde un punto de vista no etnocentrista.

– Facilitación del reconocimiento de los títulos académicos obtenidos en otros países.

– Inclusión como una tarea prioritaria para las instituciones culturales, teatro, cine, salas de concierto, bibliotecas, archivos y museos, el facilitar un más amplio conocimiento de la historia, los valores y las actitudes de las distintas tradiciones culturales de las gentes que viven en nuestro país promoviendo el mutuo respeto y conocimiento, así como el impulso de propuestas culturales conjuntas producto de la interacción de todos con el entorno político, social y ecológico en el que vivimos.

– Políticas que fomenten el acceso al alquiler de viviendas para la población migrada.

– Erradicación del término “ilegal” para quienes se encuentran en situación de irregularidad.

– Exigencia a los medios de comunicación de un tratamiento no discriminatorio en relación con las minorías tanto en noticias como en artículos de opinión, espacio para la expresión de las minorías, en este caso de la población migrada y sus organizaciones y de las organizaciones defensoras de los derechos humanos.

4.-A nivel político:

– Erradicar desde las instituciones el tratamiento de la población migrada como una categoría social.

– Finalizar con la presentación de la inmigración como un problema, así como con la atribución a este colectivo de características problemáticas para el conjunto de la sociedad.

– Acabar con los discursos que culpabilizan a la inmigración de las limitaciones en los servicios públicos.

– Suprimir las referencias étnicas en noticias sobre delincuencia, objetividad en las informaciones de la policía a los medios en cuanto a la calificación de los grupos de delincuentes y las bandas juveniles, ofrecer datos estadísticos no sesgados.

– Reconocimiento de la inmigración como un derecho, acabando con la consideración de estas personas como mano de obra y [email protected] de segunda.

– Exigencia de responsabilidades a [email protected] representantes españ[email protected] en el Parlamento Europeo que han contribuido con su voto a la aprobación de la Directiva Europea de Retorno.

– Fin de la política represiva de control de fronteras; mecanismos realistas para posibilitar la inmigración; fin del expolio a los “países en vías de desarrollo”; políticas de cooperación al servicio de las necesidades de la población.

Los movimientos sociales debemos contribuir al debate y a la toma de conciencia evidenciando cómo el fin de las políticas segregacionistas es también responsabilidad del conjunto de la sociedad y que las mismas nos convierten en futuras posibles víctimas de estas estrategias de segmentación social a través de la creación de grupos con distintos derechos en función de procedencia, extracción social, nivel de formación, lengua, creencias, practicas sociales o rasgos corporales.

La raíz del racismo social está en el racismo institucional generado por los intereses dominantes de las jerarquías de poder socioeconómico.

Debemos exigir un giro total en las políticas de inmigración del Estado Español –y de la UE– para que los esfuerzos y medios se empleen, no en seguir creando barreras para impedir que pasen personas de países no comunitarios (sin preocuparnos de los miles de [email protected] que quedan por el camino en el intento), sino en el avance del estado de bienestar para toda la ciudadanía y en acoger a las personas que llegan, que viven entre [email protected] y tienen el mismo derecho a vivir en este trozo del planeta que nos hemos apropiado egoístamente, para contribuir a lograr una sociedad libre de racismo y xenofobia, aceptando la realidad de que la sociedad está compuesta por personas de diferentes orígenesnacionales y culturales y que así va a seguir siendo.

Frente a los programas de uniformación de la población debemos sentir orgullo de las diversas identidades que cada quién hereda y construye.

Hay que hacer realidad el contenido de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, que en sus artículos 1º y 2º dice:

“Todos los seres humanos nacen libres e iguales en dignidad y derechos y, dotados como están de razón y conciencia, deben comportarse fraternalmente los unos con los otros”

“Toda persona tiene todos los derechos y libertades proclamados en esta Declaración, sin distinción alguna de raza, color, sexo, idioma, religión, opinión política o de cualquier otra índole, origen nacional o social, posición económica, nacimiento o cualquier otra condición”.

La puesta en práctica con valentía de estos contenidos de la Declaración Universal, contribuirá además a un avance ético y de justicia en la humanidad, y puede frenar la peligrosa e insolidaria deriva que está tomando la Unión Europea.

Centro de Defensa y Estudio de los Derechos Humanos (CEDEHU) – Madrid, Agosto de 2008

Ponencia presentada por la asociación CEDEHU en el III Foro Social Mundialde Migraciones celebrado en Rivas Vaciamadrid el mes de Septiembre de 2008, titulada: “RACISMO SOCIAL E INSTITUCIONAL EN EL ESTADO ESPAÑOL: ¿Está el racismo institucional en la raíz del racismo social?” y que es un extracto de un trabajo más amplioque puede consultarse en su blog (

Video: Defending the Human Right to Migrate. Martín Habiague. TEDxESADE (May 2021).