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Spain’s immigrant politician highlights racial imbalances

Two young Senegalese men met on a Europe-bound migrant boat in 2006, a year that saw a record influx of Africans to Spain’s Canary Islands.

Since then, one died of a heart attack running away from Spanish police and the other is running in a polarized election Tuesday for a seat in Madrid’s regional assembly.

Serigne Mbaye not only wants to fight what he considers to be “structural racism” against African migrants but also to defy a history of underrepresentation of the Black community and other people of color in Spanish politics.

“That’s where all discrimination begins,” he told The Associated Press.

In 2018, having failed to secure legal work and a residence permit, the man he met on the boat – Mame Mbaye, no relation – died of a heart attack eluding a police crackdown on street vendors.

After that, Serigne Mbaye, who at the time represented a group of mostly Black African hawkers, became one of the most vocal voices against Spain’s Alien Law, saying it ties migrants arriving unlawfully to the underground economy. The regulation also punishes them with jail for committing minor offenses, leaving them with a criminal record that weighs against their chances of getting a residence permit.“His image […]

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