Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2006


Immigration to Spain


Two different worlds converge on the Strait of Gibraltar, that of two continents and that of two religions. Yet despite the strait's relatively short distance of only 14 kilometers, the cultural proximity between Spain and Morocco seems even closer as thousands of immigrants arrive in southern Spain each year from North Africa. Many come from Sub-Saharan Africa and have spent years waiting in Tangiers or outside Ceuta and Melilla to cross the border, if they are lucky, they will "jump" the fences and enter Spain through the Moroccan enclaves. Others, however, save enough money to hire a guide to ferry them across the straight in pateras. These boats are usually filled to more than double their capacity, however, and often travel in bad weather when getting caught by officials is less likely. It is all-too-common to read about African bodies washing ashore along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Yet the hardships that these immigrants face is often overlooked because Spaniards are becoming more protective of their jobs, homes, and homogeneous culture.

I became personally interested with the relationship between immigrants and Spaniards in the fall of 2004 when I moved to Cadiz, in south-west Spain to study Spanish for a year. Within the first month, a local friend casually mentioned how 15 dead immigrants had washed up on a beach several miles south of Cadiz the previous spring. This concept was exceedingly difficult for me to understand, yet for most Spaniards it is common news. People were risking their lives in front of my very eyes and this was something I could not ignore.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Immigrants--Spain; Culture conflict--Spain

Geographic Coverage

Spain--Emigration and immigration


student projects; term papers




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