If you think Latin Americans only immigrate to the United States, think again, a scholar said on June 24 at Fordham.

Tomas Calvo Buezas, Ph.D., founder and director of the Center for the Studies of Migration and Racism at Computense University in Madrid, discussed the influx of Latin Americans into Spain at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.

“Spain has always a country whose citizens have migrated out,” Calvo Buezas said. “That changed because Spain has ceased being a poor country. Today it is a rich country and it supplies jobs.”

Latin American emigrants flock to Spain, mostly to fill positions in child and eldercare, construction and agriculture, he said. Though the majority of Spain’s immigrant workforce is from nearby Morocco, some 40 percent of Spain’s immigrants hail from Latin America, in particular Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil and Paraguay. Emigrants from the Dominican Republic are also becoming part of Spain’s immigrant workforce, Calvo Buezas added.

There are approximately 5.3 million Latin American immigrants in Spain, he said, approximately a half million to 1 million of whom are undocumented.

Latin American women make up 10 percent of the country’s population, but produce 23 percent of Spain’s children, Calvo Buezas said. Children of Latin Americans are finding success in Spanish public schools because there is little to no language barriers and the education system is well respected, he added.

Immigrants also enjoy a generous health care system in which even the undocumented can seek help at any private or public hospital.

While racism toward Latin American immigrants does exist in Spain, research by his center has found that it is not particularly strong, Calvo Buezas said.

“There is no huge conflict,” he said.

Calvo Buezas’ lecture was sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and attended by interdisciplinary faculty members.


Gina Vergel is Senior Director of Communications. She oversees the digital news coverage, public relations, and social media for the university. Before joining Fordham in 2007, Gina worked as a reporter for the Home News Tribune, and The Ridgewood News, where she won Society of Professional Journalist (New Jersey chapter) awards for breaking news and feature writing, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 579-9957.