MORE than 1'000 immigrants from outside the European Union area queued patiently outside the National Police station in Calle Ruiz de Alda for hours yesterday, waiting for a time and a date for picking up their combined residence-work permit (TUE).
Many of them had camped outside the police station all night to ensure a place in the queue.
The immigrants' indignation grew as the hours passed and the temperature rose, but police on duty reported that there were no incidents.
Yesterday Commissioner Alfonso Jiménez justified the situation, saying last week, we issued appointments for 166 persons to be attended to every day up to June 17. As a result the police attended to all the non-European Union immigrants who had an appointment, on the Monday to Thursday afternoons between 3 and 8pm. He went on to say that in the mornings, the Police handled the paper work of 80 non-Spanish European Community workers a day and also handled the Spanish identity cards.
The Commissioner said that yesterday's queue was so long because appointments were being given to a new contingent of non-European Union workers.
He added that appointments granted yesterday, for 166 people a day, had been for the period until the end of June. In this way, there is only a queue for one day, and then there are no crowds for two weeks, the Comissioner said. We are doing all that we can, he added, pointing out that at one point the department only issued 40 TUEs a day and now they are handling four times as many.
But according to the people forced to stand in line, something in the organisation is still failing.
One person from Chile, who had been queuing since 8am, asked
Appointments issued until the end of the month why the police did not work on Fridays, and why they handled the non-European Union cases in the afternoons only.
Following widespread protests over the system, the government representative put on extra staff and extended the working hours (originally the office was open for just two hours in the afternoon).
Talks are also underway with a view to town and city councils being able to handle some of the paperwork, so that the workers will not have to come in to Palma.
But although the new appointments system has gone some way to ease the situation, there is still an enormous backlog of cases to be resolved.
And many people are still confused as to which office they should go to.