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Global Cities and Immigrants

A Comparative Study of Chicago and Madrid


Edited By Francisco Velasco Caballero and María de los Angeles Torres

Global Cities and Immigrants provides a detailed set of comparative case studies of the immigration policies of two global cities undergoing dramatic demographic changes. At the heart of this research are several theoretical questions. One is about the increased importance of municipal and local governments in a globalized world, particularly regarding immigrants. As the world global­izes and national governments attempt to tighten their grip, the failure of national policies to address the needs of new global situations encourages local governments to develop policies that resolve these new conditions. Although immigration is a federal policy in the United States and Spain, city and state governments have increasingly played a role in shaping both the enforcement of national laws and integration experiences of immigrants. This creates a local politics and indeed a legality of immigration that is strongly shaped by local views of economic, political, and security interests, as well as differing perceptions of immigrants’ rights and place in the polity.
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Chapter Eleven: Democracy and Immigration in Spain


← 256 | 257 → CHAPTER ELEVEN

Democracy and Immigration in Spain


The Spanish Council of State, the consultative body of the national government, in its report on proposals to change the Spanish general election system and when reflecting on the political participation system foreseen in the Spanish Constitution (SC), refers to the centralization of elections and applicable provisions within the regulatory structure of a democratic state, “albeit merely based on their immediate link with the sovereign people.” For the Council of State, the state’s democratic nature depends, “to a large extent, on the ability of the electoral system to adequately achieve a political representation of society.” An “electoral system at the service of democracy demands that all elections generate a body that represents the electoral body, in material and political terms and not just formally” (Consejo de Estado, 2009, pp. 10, 12).


The 1789 French Revolution identified citizenship with nationality, “belonging to a nation (rather than a people), as subject to sovereignty” (De Lucas, 2006, p. 22). Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, political rights were linked to nationality; the idea of citizenship revolved around the idea of a nation and, later, of a people, albeit consisting of national citizens only. National sovereignty and, later, popular sovereignty meant that institutional decisions were endorsed ← 257 | 258 → by the will of the nation or people, which consisted of national citizens (Aja...

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