Spain: Out of Africa
By Julia Hursh
Ramblas is a fun area in Barcelona where I
spent much of my time in Spain. It was in this area that I saw many
signs of migration from all over the world. I met a woman from Austria
who now lives in Barcelona because her husband is from Spain, a chef
from India who moved to Barcelona recently and I also saw many
Moroccans and Algerians on the streets who were obvious migrants from
Of all the people that I met, it is the African
migration that I found the most interesting. Many people within Europe
move to other countries in Europe for work, spouses or other reasons.
Many of the Africans that migrate do so in search of labor as well but
in a much more dangerous manner. Most of the Spain readings for class
included information about the flow of people from sub-Saharan Africa
to Morocco to Europe. According to Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller
in The Age of Migration, “ In 2001, the Association of Moroccan
Immigrant Workers in Spain estimated that nearly 4000 Moroccans alone
had died trying to cross the Straight of Gibraltar over the preceding
five years.” The book goes on to explain that “suddenly denied legal
access to the French labor markets, Moroccans sought employment in
Italy and Spain.” Hence my observations of North Africans
migrants in Spain.
I was previously unfamiliar with this migration, but it
reminds me of the migration closer to home. I live in San Diego,
California so I frequently hear about and see the migration of people
across the Mexico and U.S. border. According to The Age of Migration,
“2000 migrants had died since 1994” trying to cross into the United
States from Mexico and this pattern has continued annually since then.
Both of these situations involve migrants illegally going from a poorer
to a wealthier country for work. Unfortunately these people cannot get
visas or work permits so they must go along a dangerous path to leave
their country and try to find work in another one.
Seeing the Africans on the streets in Barcelona passing
out fliers to clubs and trying to sell things reminded me of the
Mexicans in San Diego that are also looking for work in a foreign land.
Even though they are across the world from each other, they have
similar paths in life as they search for work and a better life.