Spaniards showing more tolerance for immigrants

55 Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrived from camps in Greece Monday to Madrid's international airport. Photo: 20minutos
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• High-level of rejection of immigrants during ‘boom’ years appears to be easing
• 55 more Syrian, Iraqi refugees arrive to Spain, total relocated reaches 1,034

Attitudes among Spaniards toward immigrants appear to be relaxing from the rising levels of intolerance experienced in Span during the years of high economic growth from 2001-2007, according to a new issue of the journal Panorama Social edited by FUNCAS, a think-tank dedicated to social issues and funded by the financial sector foundation CECA.

According to experts writing in the current issue of the journal, the rejection of immigrants during Spain’s boom years was driven by the sharp hike in immigration at the time that lead Spaniards to perceive immigration as a threat to society. Since 2011, the percentage of foreign citizens resident in Spain has dropped slightly to the current level of 10 percent of the population, while the number of Spanish citizens and non-Spaniards who are foreign born currenty stands at 14 percent, just one percentage point lower than the highest level recorded of 15 percent in 2012.

The news of an easing of negative perceptions of immigrants comes at a time when Spain is being called upon to accept more refugees from war-torn countries of the Middle East and Africa. On Monday, an addition 55 Syrian and Iraqi refugees were relocated to Spain from camps in Greece, bringing to 1,034 the total number of refugees actually relocated by Spain over the past year.

According to Panorama Social one of the most serious problems confronting Spanish society as more asylum seekers and migrants seek to enter the country is that of the current number of unemployed immigrants, which stands at around 660,000.

► Read More in Spanish at Europa Press and 20minutos …

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