Conflict between Vox and PP over reception of migrant children

by Lorraine Williamson
reception of migrant children

The far-right party Vox has threatened to end its coalitions with the PP in five Spanish autonomous regions if the PP agrees to a proposed amendment to the Aliens Act regarding the reception of migrant children. The amended law would require Spanish regions to take in unaccompanied minor migrants.

Due to the large number of minor and unaccompanied migrants arriving in the Canary Islands, an emergency situation has arisen in the reception centres. Therefore, the central government of Spain is negotiating changes to the Aliens Act. The proposed law stipulates that when 150% of the reception capacity is utilised, minors must be taken in by other regions.

Political party Vox sees this decision as a breaking point in their cooperation with the PP. The Catalan party Junts per Catalunya will also not support the amendment and is negotiating an exemption for Catalonia from the mandatory reception of migrant children. The argument for the refusal is that Catalonia already takes in an exceptionally large number of minor migrants compared to other regions. They want to maintain control over immigration powers.

Vox labels the amendment as unacceptable

The proposal to amend Article 35 of the Aliens Act comes from the Canary Islands government. They want to relieve the pressure on the island’s reception centres through a legislative change. However, the proposal is sparking an intense debate in national politics and appears to have political consequences at the national level.

Vox considers the amendment a critical point for their relationship with the conservative PP, their governing partner in five autonomous regions. The national leadership of Vox is even considering the scenario of breaking with the PP in these communities – Castile and León, Valencian Community, Extremmadura, Aragon, and Murcia. This decision partly depends on the choice of the national PP leader Feijóo to agree to the amendment.

Extremadura more lenient about migrant children reception

The issue of unaccompanied migrant children also presents a dilemma for the PP itself. On the Canary Islands, where the problem is acute, the conservative party is also responding. However, Vox is unequivocal. The party warns the PP that it is not willing to compromise on this point.

The government of Extremadura, formed by the PP with Vox’s support, has disregarded Vox’s threats. There, the government states that it will act with “absolute involvement and absolute sensitivity” in the care for minors. Moreover, the government states that it will comply with the applicable legislation, whether it is well received or not.

Madrid fears a pull factor for new migrants

The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, fears that the redistribution of minor migrants to other regions will cause a “pull effect.” It gives migrants the impression that once they reach the Canary Islands, they can ultimately end up anywhere in Spain.

For now, Vox’s warnings to the PP remain just that. “The immigration policy is part of the governing agreements. The PP knows where we stand, we await their statements,” said the Vox spokesperson.

Vox very outspoken about migrant children redistribution proposal

Vox, which in speeches links illegal immigration to crime, places the migration issue as one of the core points of their political policy. Like Ayuso, Vox believes that redistributing migrant children from the Canary Islands to other regions will encourage a “pull effect.” Additionally, there are doubts about the origins of the young refugees.

In the meantime, the issue of unaccompanied minor migrants remains a topic of discussion, and Spanish parties seem to be heading towards yet another crisis of confidence.

Also read: Canary islands want urgent redistribution of under age migrants

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