This morning on Els Matins, Barcelona mayoral candidate for the PPC (Catalan PP), Alberto Fernández, made it clear that his party is committed to the xenophobic campaign line it has been pursuing for some time here.
After declaring that "Yes", he has "'prejudices' against immigrants" ('nouvinguts' or 'newcomers' in Catalan, a word which sounds nicer but is generally used in the same reactionary arguments), Fernández went on to insist that "immigrants should comply with the law that we ourselves comply with". He also said that immigrants who need to apply for or renew their papers should have to go to the city hall and obatain a document to prove they "have no obstacles [sic] with anyone", and that immigrants "who come to Catalonia to commit crime should be expelled". Then he went on to claim that Barcelona has become "the capital of antisocial behaviour and crime" which should be dealt with via "a firm hand".
If you've been following the language of the PP in Catalonia, none of this should come as a surprise. But that doesn't make any of it less disgusting. Of course, we expect the hard right to be thoroughly unpleasant. And that's why they should be opposed. That said, the two quotes which most got my attention were the ones about complying with the law and coming here to commit crime.
When Fernández says that immigrants should comply with the law, same as anyone else, that isn't what he is saying. What he's saying is "immigrants commit loads of crimes and they get away scot free". I shouldn't need to point out that the Generalitat has already changed the law concerning petty crime to make it easier to convict bag thieves on the Metro and the Rambles. But how many immigrants are bag thieves anyway? How many steal copper? And is he really talking about immigrants? I'm an immigrant in Catalonia. There are lots of other UK, Italian, French, German and Dutch immigrants here. Does he include them when he says "immigrants", or does he just mean "immigrants from outside the EU".
If you read the Shite Press in BCN (pretty much the only press available here), you may have noticed a generally accepted dichotomy between 'comunitarios' ('EU citizens') and 'inmigrantes' ('immigrants'). What I've found hard to understand is that Romanians are often listed with the immigrants, even though they're EU citizens. Because if, as I suspect, Fernández is talking about non-EU citizens except Romanians, then I think we're on the verge of spotting where his real prejudice lies. But if, on the other hand, he means to include the French suspect in the Drassanes murder case then perhaps he means to include me in his use of 'immigrants'. Which he almost certainly is not doing.
As to the immigrants who come here to commit crime, well there probably are a few. There are probably also Spaniards from elsewhere in Spain who come here to commit crime, and Catalans who live here to commit crime. The problem is: how do you prove that someone has come here to commit crime? You obviously can't. The only thing he can mean is that immigrants who commit a crime should be expelled. And that leads us to the issue of definitions again.
If, as must happen, an immigrant commits a crime here without having come here with the express intention of committing that crime, that immigrant should not be expelled. Actually, Fernández didn't say this, and it's not logically safe to give him the benefit of the doubt here. No, he almost certainly means that any immigrant who commits any crime should be expelled.
And not once does he or that idiot Cuní state the percentage of crimes committed by immigrants, or the percentage of immigrants who commit crimes, or how those figures compare with people born here. So what we're left with is the clear implication that immigrants and crime are somehow inextricably linked and that the best thing for it is expulsion and special treatment.
Don't vote for the PP.