Democracy & Justice

Madrid Offers Alternatives to the Detention of Migrants

The City Council has published its road map to avoid the detention of migrants, and to protect the human rights of detainees in cases where detention can't be avoided.

by Rights International Spain
Residents of Madrid have long opposed immigration detention: this demonstration from 2013 was held to protest the CIE there. (Image: Bárbara Boyero)
The Madrid City Council has drawn up a road map to prevent the deprivation of liberty of migrants in an irregular administrative situation in the Identification and Expulsion Center (CIE) of the city.

The working paper in which the road map is included, entitled "Madrid and Human Rights: The responsibility of cities regarding migrant detention centers," contains the conclusions of a working group in which various institutions and civil society organizations have participated, including Rights International Spain.

'Close CIE in Madrid'

The local government has opposed the mere existence of migrant detention centers, since depriving the liberty of a person who has committed no crime is discriminatory and contrary to the rights to personal liberty and security.

Due to the fact that city councils have no competence in migration policy, it has demanded that the Ministry of the Interior close the CIE in Madrid, in line with what is established by several international human rights bodies.

Moreover, a number of measures have also been laid down to prevent the detention of migrants. First of all, the City Council will issue social reports on irregular migrants who live in Madrid and who have a deportation process opened, in order to prove the judge that, because they have a stable residence in Madrid, their deprivation of liberty is unnecessary, and thus prevent their entry in the CIE.

For those who can't prove such rooting, the City Council will offer housing and food in protected facilities, in order to offer judges an alternative to deprivation of liberty, in line with the recommendations of international human rights organizations.

A helping hand

Likewise, the local government wants to create mechanisms (within their competences) to protect the rights of detainees, in the cases where the prevention from entering the CIE has failed. To this end, it will send two or three social workers hired by the City Council to the CIE, to attend and watch for the rights of the detainees, and will provide the migrants with the necessary support if their deportation is materialized, and publish periodic reports about the situation of the center.

Finally, a series of measures have been also established for cases in which, after having been detained in the CIE, the person hasn't been deported (approximately 60 percent of the cases).

Thus, the City Council has committed itself to prepare the social resources that the migrants may need according to their circumstances and needs.

Rights International Spain values this proposal because the priority is the eradication of the detention of migrants who are in an irregular administrative situation, and this requires the establishment of alternatives like the ones the City Council has offered, taking into account its limited competences in matter of migration policy.

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