Interview with an immigrant from Nigeria

Recently in Spain, the Rajoy government has been busy cutting funding from as many programs as possible in order to meet strict budget deficit targets. One of the most recent changes has been the closing of the healthcare system to illegal immigrants in Spain. Under the new rules only children, pregnant women and emergency cases will qualify for free treatment. I decided to ask an immigrant who stands all day at the local grocery store, either helping people with their groceries, or asking for change. 
Who are you? How old are you, where are you from?

My name is Sam, Samsun.
And how old are you?

I’ll be 35 by September

Where are you from orignially?

I’m from Nigeria, Edo State, Benin City

Where is Benin City located in Nigeria?

Edo State is like midwest part of the country- Western part of the country

Is there anything you want to say, anything interesting about yourself? You say you’re 35 so you’ve lived some time.

Yeah, Yeah, I left the country about four years ago, came down here, to start easy for me, I thought coming here would be more better than when I was in my country. You understand me so. Coming here is difficult. Going back home now is a problem because, I feel maybe people will laugh at me – mock me. As a man, I try to make it.

Did you have problems with the government in Spain. With things like Visas or something similar.

I came through land, through Morocco.

Was it difficult?

It was difficult to come here because we had to cross the sea, the big river. So it was now easy. I came down in Cadiz the boundary between Spain and Morocco.

What do you do here now?

I’m here not to just ask for money or to beg, I came here to see some man and ask me for a job, I come here to clean a house, sweep. That is why I am here.

Going back to Nigeria

I believe it is more better here than where I am coming from because when I was in my country I was thinking maybe it is more better. As I am now, I believe it is even more better.

I thought it would be harder, because here in Spain with the crisis now, a lot of people are unemployed. 25%. I don’t think Spain is the place to go right now, maybe the UK would be better?

If I had the chance to go, I’ll go to the UK. For now, I live here. First of all I need a car, money. It is very important for this life.

Every country in this world, I mean, every citizen for example Spanish citizens, they are illegal in other countries, it’s like that. The only thing is when you are in someones country dont commit a crime, you respect their law, their constitution, dont, you know, do what they dont want. If you do crimes, if you mess up, if you are stealing, they can take you and do you whatever they like because you broke the law.

Are you scared of something like that happening to you? Some police action?

I dont blame it illegal, if I’m back I cannot ask to work again or something. I don’t do this.

Do you have problems with getting a work permit?

If I can get a working visa, I’ll work. I have strength, I’m still young, I can work.

Going back to Nigeria, You don’t want to go back to Nigeria


You say you’ll be mocked and as a man you can’t –

As a man, I left home hoping, I’m coming outside my country to make it, going back home is not something, I don’t know how to explain it. In anything in life, for you to make it in life, you pass difficulties. Many problems come your way, you pass through them. One day God…

Do you have any family here?

No, no, no. No family

How long haven’t you seen your family or relatives?

Since I left home.

What do you think about Spanish people and the way they treat immigrants? Any thoughts about the new health care rules?

I don’t know. I believe they are good, because no man is perfect. In my country or your country or any country, the most important is to be good. For me, the Spanish people they are ok. 

Do you face any discrimination? How many people stop and talk to you and how many people just ignore you?

Sometimes it happens, when they have their own problems. I take it as no man, It happens to me sometimes.

What about the future?

If I have a chance to work and get money, I would save money for my future. For now, there is nothing. I’m just here to eat, and sleep. I don’t think of the problems I have.

Samsun was very reluctant to talk about his trip from Nigeria to Spain, and he was very careful not to admit to being in Spain illegally (although from some of his answers it is easy to assume, for example, coming to Spain by land through Morocco when their is no land border).

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