Differential treatment of specific nationalities in detention


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in detention Last updated: 21/04/22


Organisations working with migrants in irregular situation or in the area of immigration detention have always reported that most detained migrants are from Maghreb and sub-Saharan countries. Out of 7,855 persons detained in 2018, 2,801 (36%) were from Morocco and 2,511 (32%) from Algeria.[1] More recent statistics were not available at the time of writing of this report. In its annual report on the situation of CIEs, the Migrant Jesuit Service denounced the lack of transparency by the Government in publishing and providing statistics on immigration detention.[2]

The over-representation in detention of people from Maghreb or sub-Saharan Africa is explained by the fact that identity checks conducted by police are still mostly based on ethnic and racial profiling. A report issued in 2018 by SOS Racismo highlighted that 31% of detainees they assisted in the CIE of Aluche in Madrid between 2014 and 2017 were detained after a documentation check.[3] The discriminatory attitude and incidents within the Spanish territory have been the subject of several reports and critiques, which persisted in 2021 and at the beginning of 2022.[4]




[1] SJM, Informe CIE 2018: Discriminación de origen, June 2019, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2MLncE3, 20.

[2] Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, ‘Informe CIE 2020- Razón jurídica sin razón política’, June 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3sU371k, 8.

[3] SOS Racismo, Informe CIE 2014 – 2017. Más allá de la frontera de lo humano, July 2018, 25.

[4] Liberties, “‘Because You’re Black’: Spain Ethnic Profiling Case Goes to Strasbourg”, 25 January 2018, available at: https://bit.ly/2sBpiJG; SOS Racismo, ‘Parad de pararme’, 25 january 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3ECBa2l.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation