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This article analyzes the links between migratory processes and the evolution of nationality legislation in Spain. We argue that this case challenges the theoretical models that link immigration to liberalizing reforms in citizenship law. Despite large-scale immigration experienced over the last two decades, Spanish nationality law has remained strongly focused on keeping ties with Spanish communities abroad. To account for the high degree of stability of Spanish citizenship law we structure our analysis along three basic lines: the historical conceptions derived from Spain's past as a colonial power, as well as its tradition as a country of emigration; the lack of incentives for political actors to introduce the reform of citizenship law in the political agenda; and the strategies adopted by those political actors in relation to the politicization of immigration.