Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants
Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

Recently, the U.S. government has been dragged, criticised and as well faced legal action as a result of its decision to exempt illegal immigrants from benefiting from its recent $2.2 trillion coronavirus palliatives.

According to the stimulus bill, U.S. taxpayers are meant to receive up to $1,200, as well as $500 for each of their children under age 17. Taxpayers who are not documented and  those with U.S.-born children with mixed status parents, are not eligible.

However, since U.S. has faced backlash with regards its policies, which restricts immigrants to benefit from support during the pandemic, whereas other countries have taken measures in a very peculiar means.

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

Notwithstanding, In Portugal, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with cases that are pending have been given temporary citizenship rights amid the pandemic.

The decision making took place in March, as the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world and the economy to a halt, with Portugal granting extension of citizenship rights to foreigners with pending applications which could last till July 1st, permitting their access to  health care and other benefits during the global coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with Newsweek, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, the associate director of the Migration Policy Institute’s International Program said she accepted both countries’ immigration responses to the global health issues which according to her is a reflective of “goals and values” before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I feel all countries face some solid questions and a couple of goal-related questions in terms of how they react to immigration instantly ,” Banulescu-Bogdan said.

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

“It is without doubt, that every country across the globe is facing a crisis between enforcement, management goals and public health goals. They have to look for a means to  balance those trade-offs and also achieve variety of the goals that deals with a country’s prior objectives and values.

“So, i think in some countries where there are very strict restrictions, only reflect the interest of the political parties in accordance with immigration restrictions even before the outbreak of coronavirus. A public health emergency created the avenue they required to erupt pretty draconian restrictions and impose halts on certain areas of immigration or all-out border closures,” Banulescu-Bogdan said.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, she said, “you have almost the same analysis , but the other result.”

This could likely be linked to Portugal’s growing efforts over the years before the the coronavirus outbreak  to “open itself up to immigration,” Banulescu-Bogdan said.

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

When it values are involved, “Portugal had been finding ways to open itself up to immigration over the past few years and considering the 2015-2016 European migration and refugee crisis, it had already transitioned through a different direction than other countries.”

With the country less impacted by the European migration crisis than other European nations, largely due its geographical location, Portugal was “insulated from some of the major flows. It didn’t face the sort of overwhelming numbers that kind of crushed the asylum systems in some of the other [European Union] member states.”

So, in the years since, Portugal has been able to make efforts to “rethink and improve their approach and try to attract new immigrants to Portugal.”

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

The response we are seeing now in the wake of the pandemic, Banulescu-Bogdan said, “doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of this already deep history of being quite open to immigration in a way that other countries weren’t.”

While that may be true, Rahul Batra, a managing partner at Hudson McKenzie, an immigration law firm based in London, said it is important to note that while migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with pending applications with Portugal’s immigration office have been granted full citizenship rights, Portugal has still imposed border measures similar to other countries, including the U.S.

“The officials took this measure [to provide citizenship rights] in order to grant such people the right to utilize full access to the country’s healthcare system amid the coronavirus pandemic, thereby bringing the dangers of public health to minimal,” Batra told Newsweek.

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

“Because of the [coronavirus] pandemic, Portugal enacted a State of Emergency on 18 March 2020, which became effective immediately. It also imposed temporary internal land border controls with Spain and sealed off its external borders for non-EEA [European Economic Area] travelers attempting to enter Portugal for non-essential purposes,” Batra said.

“Therefore, being careful like most countries it hasn’t any new immigration a chance, but has simply taken a measure to enhance health care services to foreigners who are in the country already.

“The logic behind this measure was that foreign citizens should not be restricted to access health and public service with the excuse that their application has not yet been attended to by the Immigration Office,” Batra said.

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

Providing migrants, asylum seekers and refugees citizenship status is “only a necessity” meant to enable them with an access to public health, , Batra said.

Banulescu-Bogdan said having the tendency to ensure that everybody irrespective of your citizenship is in a position to access the health care system and other public benefits without stress “is definitely the best for attaining to public health goals.”

Recently, it has been reported that families that are not documented in the U.S. are shying away from seeking medical care or support from the government as a result of fears of being deported out of their host country.

Portugal is granting Citizenship-rights to Migrants

While the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has made away with interior immigration enforcement amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration’s years-long crackdown on immigration is believed to possess had an amazing impact on undocumented families’ willingness to backlash government support.


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