National Police and a detention. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

The Balearic High Court is now adopting the stance of the Supreme Court in Madrid when it comes to sentencing immigrants who have committed crimes which carry a tariff of at least one year in prison. This is automatic expulsion from Spain.

The court in the Balearics has been guided by a European directive which established that expulsion should be considered on a case by case basis. This was especially so with cases where immigrants' situations in Spain are "regularised" with residency permissions. The high court was annulling expulsions in cases where the national government delegation in the Balearics was not giving weight to the time someone had been resident in Spain, whether they had family or not, and regardless of their employment circumstances or links with their country of origin.

This is changing because the Supreme Court has taken the view that expulsion should be automatic where it is shown that a serious crime reflects a failure to adapt to Spanish society.

The first such case considered by the Balearic court has to do with a Moroccan who was sentenced to three years for drug trafficking. He had been living legally in Spain for ten years but was without family and had spent six years without employment. The national government delegation withdrew his residency permit, and he has been expelled from Spain and cannot return for four years.