I Don’t Have to Live like a Refugee


After having successfully surpassed phases one and two of the renewal process for my Spanish Residence and Work Permit, I finally completed the last phase today. The past two weeks have all been in the upper 60ºs F, but yesterday and today the temperatures fell by about 15ºs. This worried me and prepared for the worst — another interminable and unbearable wait in the long lines of the police station in Aluche in the cold. Although it was cold, it was a perfect sunny day, and I hoped this was a positive sign.

I boarded the metro and 50 minutes later, I arrived in Aluche. I then walked about 600 meters to the abandoned hospital that now serves as the police station for immigration. (In Spain, immigration and naturalization fall under the jurisdiction of the police, as opposed to, say, the INS in the U.S.). There were two long lines, one for giving fingerprints and turning in documents, and the other for general inquiries. I ignored both lines and went straight to the gates to speak with the police officer on duty. I asked, “for picking up a renewed permit?” And she said those magic words, “go right in”. That meant, no lines, BABY!

I picked up my brand new Spanish Residence and Work Permit, left the building retracing my steps back to the metro station. Then, feeling very special as if I belonged (and after having calculated that it would take me about two hours to get from Aluche to Alcobendas where I work using public transportation), I felt like the occasion warranted a bit of a celebration. So, I splurged and took a taxi.

Now, I no longer feel like a refugee. I am once again a first class, second class resident! Well, at least for the next two years when I have to start the entire process all over again.



Filed under Living la vida española

9 responses to “I Don’t Have to Live like a Refugee

  1. TheCommentKiller

    the INS no longer exists- In 2003 the INS transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is now called the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  2. eric

    Thanks for the clarification. My point, though subtle, is that in Spain the immigration process ultimately passes through the police, not through a seperate agency dedicated to immigration. These gives the feel of “criminalizing” the immgration. It is also a huge bureaucratic weight being imposed on the police.

    The flip side of the benefit of having a separate administrative agency (or sub-agency) with jurisdiction over immigration and naturalization is precisely that immigration violations are not considered criminal violations, thus stripping a detained immigrant of those civil rights that would normally attach to a criminal defendant.

  3. TheCommentKiller

    Yeah, i am not too familiar w/ the Spanish system, but i am guessing that it can’t be worse than the US system where (as you said) immigration violations are considered civil violations, but punished criminally- the worst of both worlds. the US is doing similar things to sex offenders. Basically, in the US if you are an undesirable you are likely to spend time behind bars… modern day segregation.

  4. eric

    The thing is that by having to go through all of the processes through the police, you are given the impression that as an immigrant you are presumed a criminal.

  5. eric

    Then again, even getting a passport or a national ID (which is obligatory for all citizens to carry on their persons at all times) also goes through the police.

  6. María P.L.

    Hola Eric,
    Te he dejado replica en varios blogs, espero que alguno lo leas y me contestes.
    Si eres el Eric que yo conocí y conozco sabras quien soy: Española, deportista, ni muy alta,ni muy rubia, ni muy fea, pero muy amiga tuya desde aquellos años en el Churchill en los que fuiste mi mayor apoyo y mejor amigo.
    Ya veo por tus blogs que te sigue gustando el baloncesto femenino. Debo decir para quien lea esto que Eric fue mi mayor fan en aquellos años de High School, cuando yo me desanimaba… siempre estaba el para levantarme. Me encantaria que te pusieses en contacto conmigo para renaudar aquella buena amistad de la que tan buenos y profundos recuerdos tengo.
    Ojala sea asi.
    P.D: Me encanta tu blog.

  7. eric

    Sé perfectamente quien eres!!! MPL! Te llamo y hablamos.

  8. María P.L.

    Tienes mi numero????

    No se si eres el Eric que yo conozco, no te veo sorprendido por haberte encontrado.

    Yo no tengo ni tu numero ni tu e-mail, ni nada…

  9. TheCommentKiller

    it is always flattering to have a stalker

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