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Macalester College

Publication Date

Spring 2004

Program Name

Spain: Cultural Landscapes and the Arts


In today’s world of increased globalization and great economic disparities, the discussion of immigration has become all the more controversial, complicated, and relevant. I believe in the right to immigrate. The nation into which one is born strongly determines the destiny of the individual. I was born in the United States, a rich democratic country and subsequently may have greater opportunities than someone from an impoverished nation, this does not mean, however that I have more right to life than the latter. It is a sad reality that people are forced to leave their homeland in search of a better life, we cannot allow the birthplace of any individual to limit her opportunity and right to achieve economic and emotional well being and prosperity.

Over the past few years I have learned about immigration through the experiences of friends and acquaintances. Over time I have become more interested and passionate in the issue, how can anyone deny life to someone who risks her own in search of better opportunities in a foreign land¬? I was excited for the chance to study and learn more about immigration in another country. Spain’s proximity to Northern Africa, relatively recent history as a nation of immigrants, and geographic location as a port to the rest of Europe make it an interesting country to study immigration. I had not anticipated such a significant number of Moroccan immigrants in Granada and the more I saw and got to know a few people from Morocco, the more intrigued I became with their life experiences as immigrants in Spain.

I have had the great fortune and pleasure to speak to many Moroccan immigrants on a personal and intimate level. I have spent hours in the streets and Moroccan teterías developing close relationships with people who have given me insight into their lives. In this paper I attempt first to show the connection between Morocco and Spain through a brief history of Spain’s transition from a country of emigration to one of immigration and through an overview of the current situation in Morocco, which forces people to seek greater opportunities in its neighbouring country. Next I will share with the reader a view into the lives of Moroccan immigrants in Spain, their hopes, expectations, and aspirations, the difficulties and barriers they face, and finally how they overcome these barriers and integrate into the Spanish society.


Human Geography


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