Friday, July 02, 2004

High Court Opens Door To Human Traficking, Terrorism

El Mundo notes that Spain's high court, the Tribunal Supremo, has ruled that foreign spouses do not have to abide by the new law regulating immigration, the Ley de Extranjería, in that they are not obliged to live together during the first year of marriage for the foreign spouse to receive full residency in Spain (and by extention the European Union). In all their wisdom, the judges decided that the obligation to live together assumes without basis that the marriage is one of convenience, at least for the first year, which is against the European Declaration of Human Rights. the case was brought on by Andalucia Acoge, an immigrants' rights organization.

It doesn't take a lot of cynicism to figure out that this opens the door wide to exactly what immigration laws are trying to regulate. If we accept that human traficking exists (and Spain should know more than any other EU country about this, with thousands of Saharan and Sub-Saharan immigrants making the 20 mile cross through the Straight of Gibraltar every year), the high court now has handed these trafickers a 'first class guaranteed travel' option: marry off the candidate to a Spanish contact who for a fee will agree to a divorce a year later, and the immigrant is free to settle anywhere in the EU. Ideal for terrorists looking to gain entry and visibility without the risk of being intercepted during the crossover.

We're sure there are lots of sad stories of incidental difficulties stemming from spouses held together under these laws, but we fear that the solution brought on by the high court will make good on it by also creating a gaping hole in the EU's anti-terrorism effort.

Another hint that Spain does not wish to be reminded about the March 11 attacks and the Al Qaeda cells operating on its soil.