A co-production of Televisió de Catalunya and Camille Zonca for the programme 30 MINUTES, with the support of the LaRede.cat DevReporter scholarship.
More than 11,000 people were deported from Spain in 2019 because they were in an irregular administrative situation. This measure disrupts life projects and causes people threatened by deportation to face constant fear.
The report takes place between Senegal and Catalonia, and tells the stories of people who, on both sides, are experiencing the consequences of a system of migration policies that imposes the threat of deportation.
Serigne Beye resides in Touba, in Senegal . And he is one of many people who tried to get to Europe to help her family. But he was deported. He persisted, and the second time he tried the trip he arrived in Malaga. He later settled in Barcelona, where he took root. The Castellers de la Sagrada Família were a second family for him. He studied Catalan and also a pharmacy course, but he couldn’t find a job and had to leave. He still has friends in Catalonia, with whom he often writes.
“In Barcelona I was able to study and learn Catalan. I did a preparation course to be able to access vocational training. And I got a pharmacy degree at the age of two. When I finished the course I had a certificate, and I didn’t have one either. lucky to have a job “.
Bada Ndiaye he spent seven years in Valencia. He came out little, out of fear. But he was eventually deported after visiting friends. Now, in Rufisque, a city in the Dakar region (Senegal), he longs to remember his life in Europe. Bada Ndiaye was deported on one of the flights prepared exclusively for the expulsion of migrants and recalls how another deportee was beaten, although he offered no resistance.
The nephew of Fatima Gieyed was also deported. She demands that the young man, who now lives in Morocco, a territory he does not know because he has lived in Catalonia for more than twelve years, be released. He is now 25: he does not leave the room.
The stories follow one another: deportation overthrows people’s life projects. Deportations are an administrative mechanism that acts as a threat. This is how s he describes it Ainhoa Nadia Douhaibi Arrazola, co-author of the book “Let’s stop the flights” .
“Deportations are a device of state racism that consists of the punishment of the forced expulsion of people, especially those from what we might call” ex-colonies “or states that are not members of the European Union.”
The flights dedicated exclusively to deportations from Spain are currently operated by Air Nostrum and Grup Barceló . They have a public contract of 10 million euros to operate them, which has previously been in the hands of Air Europa and Swiftair. The National Police developed an action protocol for deportation flights in 2007, following the death of Osamuyia Aikpitanhi , a 23-year-old man, on a deportation flight. This is how Douhaibi explains it:
“Due to the different situations of violence, and even death, that have occurred in the deportation processes, they had to include a section in which it was indicated to the police that coercive methods could not put the life of the deportees into play. In plain language, the police are being told to remember that they cannot kill. “
So far, the Spanish courts have applied the most restrictive criteria set by European regulations. A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union states that the criteria of proportionality included in Spanish law must be followed, and that people with roots should not be expelled . The magistrate of the 17 contentious administrative court of Barcelona, Frederic Vidal Grases, believes that, following the lines marked by the EU, the laws will be tightened:
“In the long run, Spanish legislation on foreigners will have to be amended. Because the 2015 ruling already told us that Spanish legislation does not exactly conform to European legislation. The problem is that I am very afraid that it will be it will change for the worse, because the current times are more indicative that we are going the other way around. “
All indications are that deportations will continue to take place as firmly or more. For this reason, several people who have already been deported are trying to respond to the psychological, social and economic consequences of deportations. Moustapha Diouf tried to reach Europe up to three times, trying to improve his family’s financial situation. None of these attempts prospered. After giving up migration, Moustapha Diouf created an entity with other people who had attempted the trip to Europe. The situation he explains Diouf it is not isolated, as corroborated by researcher Aminata Beye of Assana Secke University in Ziguinchor (Senegal). Beye considers that the deportees do not receive psychological assistance after the hard process they face.
The fear of deportation was also the center of his life Marie Faye until she managed to regularize her situation thanks to the creation of the Diomcoop cooperative, formed by itinerant exvenedores and of which she is now the president.
“I couldn’t do anything fun … I didn’t have much fun. I didn’t go out with friends, I didn’t go to restaurants, I didn’t go to parties like everyone else my age at the time. You couldn’t have friends, you couldn’t have anything “I had to live like a little hidden, working on whatever it was, because apart from the top blanket, I worked cleaning, babysitting … what came out at every moment. That wasn’t living.”
A report by Sònia Calvó Carrió, Yeray S. Iborra and João França.
Direction and image: Lucía Venero, Aïda Torrent, Raúl Cuevas and Vanessa Alami.
Live sound: Gianni Quarta, Dani Lacasa.
Editing: Xavier Artigas
Executive production: Albert Baquero.