Portugal gives migrants and asylum-seekers full citizenship rights during coronavirus outbreak

Of note. Best approach from a public health perspective (not full rights, can’t vote):

Portugal has temporarily given all migrants and asylum seekers full citizenship rights, granting them full access to the country’s healthcare as the outbreak of the novel coronavirusescalates in the country.

The move will “unequivocally guarantee the rights of all the foreign citizens” with applications pending with Portuguese immigration, meaning they are “in a situation of regular permanence in National Territory,” until June 30, the Portuguese Council of Ministers said on Friday.
The Portuguese Council of Ministers explained that the decision was taken to “reduce the risks for public health” of maintaining the current scheduling of appointments at the immigration office, for both the border agents and the migrants and asylum seekers.
Portugal declared a State of Emergency on March 18 that came into effect at midnight that day and was due to last for 15 days. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said during a news conference that “democracy won’t be suspended.”
The country was a dictatorship for decades, with democracy being restored in 1974.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called the Covid-19 pandemic “a true war,” which would bring true challenges to the country’s “way of life and economy.”
Rebelo de Sousa also praised the behavior of Portuguese citizens, “who have been exemplary in imposing a self-quarantine,” reflecting “a country that has lived through everything.”
Portugal has has 6,408 cases of coronavirus, with 140 deaths and 43 recovered, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Source: Portugal gives migrants and asylum-seekers full citizenship rights during coronavirus outbreak

Portugal’s socialist government celebrates rising immigration numbers

More a country of emigrants which may explain some of the support for immigration:

Portugal‘s government is celebrating rising immigration numbers after the number of foreign nationals living in the country hit half a million for the first time in its history.

The socialist-led government said Portugal had “overcome” barriers to attracting more migrants, who it says are needed due to the country’s relatively low birth-date and ageing population.

“Preliminary data prompt me to say that in 2019, for the first time in our history, the barrier of half a million foreign citizens residing in Portugal has been overcome,” interior minister Eduardo Cabrita told the country’s parliament on Wednesday.

The minister told MPs there were 580,000 foreign nationals were living in Portugal at the end of 2019, up from 490,000 at the end of 2018.

The debate in Portugal over migration contrasts with that in other EU countries, notably the UK – where the government has been aiming to reduce immigration.

Portugal is one of ten EU states where fewer than five per cent of residents are foreign-born; between 2011 and 2016 it also suffered strong emigration due to the fallout from the global financial crisis and austerity.

In 2017 prime minister António Costa’s government passed new laws to boost immigration, with the legislation taking effect in the autumn of 2018.

“We need more immigration and we won’t tolerate any xenophobic rhetoric,” Mr Costa said at the time.

The changes made it easier to come to Portugal for seasonal work, casual work, and study; while the process for regularising undocumented migrants was also modernised. Visas and other bureaucracy were also streamlined.

Notably the Portuguese government has also promised a 50 per cent income tax cut until 2023 to tempt back Portuguese emigrants who have left the country for at least three years.

Portugal’s Socialist Party leads a minority administration that governs with ad hoc support from communists and the radical left.

His party was re-elected in 2019 with a higher percentage of the vote than in 2015 and 22 more seats.

Source: Portugal’s socialist government celebrates rising immigration numbers

25% of citizenship applicants under Sephardic law of return are not Jewish

Pretty high number:

At least a quarter of those who have applied for Spanish nationality under the country’s law of return for descendants of Sephardic Jews are not Jewish, according to the local media.

Of the 153,767 applicants, 52,823 are from four Latin American countries — Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Ecuador — the La Razon newspaper reported Sunday. Their combined Jewish population is smaller than 10,000, according to the World Jewish Congress.

That means that nearly 43,000 applicants, or 27 percent of the total who applied before the closing of the deadline for applications in October, are not Jewish based on the relatively liberal definition of who is a Jew applied by the World Jewish Congress.

Only 4,313 applicants, or 2.8 percent, are Israelis and more than one-fifth, or 33,653, come from Mexico, which has the highest number of applicants. Colombia was next at 28,314. The United States had 5,461 applicants and Turkey had 1,994.

Only 31,222 applications had been approved by Oct. 1 and the rest are still pending. September had the most applicants, no fewer than 71,789, since the opening of the window in January 2018.
Spain passed its law of return for descendants of Sephardic Jews in 2015 shortly after Portugal.

Thousands of applicants have asked to be naturalized in Portugal, where the law is open ended.

In both countries, the government described the law as an act of atonement for the persecution and mass expulsion of Jews during the Inquisition that began in the 15th century. Many Jews were forcibly converted to Christianity.

Source: 25% of citizenship applicants under Sephardic law of return are not Jewish

Migration – The Example of Portugal

A nice overview of Portuguese migration, and how Portuguese migrants have managed to preserve their culture while successfully integrating into their host society. And yet another illustration of how identities are complex and varied, and don’t neatly fit into some of the citizenship categories and identities that we try to make:

“If the emigrant is a vehicle through which the Portuguese can think about their attachment to their homeland,  if the emigrant is a vehicle though which the Portuguese can find their roots in their past, if the emigrant is a vehicle through which the Portuguese can represent their ecumenical and tolerant spirit, then the emigrant is also a vehicle for the expression of greatness – for the extension of thought beyond the boundaries of a small country wedged between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean at the very edge of Europe.  The emigrant unbinds the Portuguese nation and Portuguese culture.”

A Culture of Migration