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Spain to Senegal: Stay Home

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 3

At a time when far-right politicians are gaining ground across Northern Europe, Spain has taken a different tack. Despite the infamous fences that encase Spain's North African enclaves, Ceuta and Mellita, the center-left government of Spanish Prime Minister Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero has implemented one of the most liberal immigration regimes in Europe.Zapatero's government has legalized-or, in the government's words, "regularized"-hundreds of thousands of undocumented foreigners. This has drawn the ire of Spain's right-wing opposition, as well as criticism from other leaders, such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who perceive Spain to be an open gate to the European Union.The Canaries are fertile ground for antiimmigrant sentiments. Speaking at a rally in the Canaries on Feb. 27, Mariano Rajoy, leader of Spain's conservative Popular Party, told supporters that "the immigrants ... must commit themselves to adopting Spanish customs. I understand that there are other countries where mere is polygamy. But not here, and it is not enough to say that tiiey must follow the law." Rajoy advocates an "assimilation contract"-a document that would bind immigrants to culturally integrate into Spanish society.

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