A Comparative Study of Chicago and Madrid
Edited By Francisco Velasco Caballero and María de los Angeles Torres
Chapter Two: Can There Be a Local Immigration Policy?
← 34 | 35 → CHAPTER TWO
Can There Be a Local Immigration Policy?
FRANCISCO VELASCO CABALLERO, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MADRID
Are local immigration policies possible in Spain? Answering this question from a legal perspective requires a determination as to whether Spanish local governments (primarily municipal and regional) have constitutional or statutory powers to undertake immigration regulation. In Spain, this question is particularly significant, because of the formal relevance of the concept of competencies within the multi-level system of governmental power established by the 1978 Constitution. In principle, in Spain, every political subdivision receives a specific sphere of power (i.e. competency) that must be respected by all other government entities. This principle appears to be particularly strict when it comes to the distribution of competencies between the central state and regional levels of government (Comunidades Autónomas, or autonomous communities). With regard to municipal government competencies, however, the delineation is more flexible and fluid. This appears to be the case, although Article 137 of the Constitution (CE) provides a vague guarantee of “local autonomy,” because the specific local competencies (i.e. their spheres of power) are established by the laws of the national government and of the different autonomous communities.
In any case, once a local competency has been established, either by national or regional laws, its exercise must be strictly respected by all other government units. In my view, this basic description of local competencies in Spain does not ← 35...
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