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Europe and Immigration


Spain is considering ending its policy of allowing illegal immigrants to acquire legal status after five years.

It is calling its policy "hospitality with responsibility" - acceptance of those who have a right to be there; rejection of those who do not.

A May 2002 opinion poll found that 60% of Spaniards link immigrants to increased crime. Two thirds of those said they believed Spaniards were becoming less tolerant of immigrants.

Interior Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said: "The hope must be that people integrate. If an immigrant wants to live here and claim his rights, he will have obligations like learning to speak the language we all speak here."

Centre-right Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar wants more action against the smuggling of immigrants. He has joined Italy, Belgium, France and Germany in proposing a joint border police unit.

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