The union has stated as “unfortunate” the statements made by the Porto mayor who defended the end of AIMA following the attack on migrants in the city last week.

“AIMA and its workers will not serve as “scapegoats” for the manifest incapacity of others”, warns the Union of Foreigners and Borders Service Employees (SINSEF), in a reaction to the statements made by the president of the Chamber from Porto, Rui Moreira.

Rui Moreira had stated that the attack against migrants, which occurred in the early hours of Friday, is “unacceptable and a hate crime”, defending the end of the Agency for the Integration of Migrants and Asylum (AIMA) and the use of the resources at its disposal to enable municipalities to respond and reinforce police forces with the resources they currently do not have to combat crime.

“I repeat, AIMA is an inoperative agency that wastes public money without fulfilling its proposed mission and, therefore, it must be extinguished”, he insisted.

Despite recognising “the weaknesses” that exist in the newly created agency, the union argues, however, that these “do not serve to justify the ineffectiveness of other bodies, and in particular, the Municipality of Porto in security matters”.

“This Union suggests that, before making communications with manipulative intentions and dismissing responsibilities in terms of security that municipal services are responsible for, that he read the competencies of AIMA”, challenges the union.

In a statement, which repudiates the mayor's “unfortunate” statements, the organisation representing workers states that the Agency does not have any competence or responsibility in terms of public order or security.

“If the conflicts that occurred in Porto (and which we all repudiate) only involved national citizens, would the mayor also attribute responsibility for them to the Institute of Registries and Notaries, and obviously demand its extinction?”, they ask.

In the early hours of Friday, three attacks on immigrants took place in the Campo 24 de Agosto area, on Rua do Bonfim and Rua Fernandes Tomás, in Porto.

According to the PSP, the attacks were carried out by several groups, with five immigrants being taken to hospital due to their injuries.

Following the attacks, six men were identified and one was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon.

Given the suspicion of the existence of a hate crime, the case is being investigated by the Judiciary Police.

In a written response to Lusa, AIMA condemned and repudiated the acts of violence against immigrants in Porto, classifying them as unacceptable and particularly serious if the motivation for racial and xenophobic hatred is confirmed.

AIMA adds that it has been following the events since it became aware of them and, in cooperation with the various entities involved, namely criminal investigation, municipal, local, hospital, and civil society, such as immigrant associations, to obtain reliable information and provide all necessary support within the scope of [its] responsibilities”.

AIMA also states that, with the aim of obtaining more information and promoting concerted actions, it contacted the Porto City Council on Saturday.

For the organization, “all entities and society are therefore called upon to act, expressing an unequivocal commitment to combating all situations of violence against people residing in Portugal”.

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