Friday, May 19, 2006


This AFP article is about how illegal immigrants are coming to Spain's Canary Islands in record numbers.

The scale of the problem is illustrated by figures showing that with well over 1,000 arrivals in the Canary Islands this week alone, the total for the year to date is now 7,384. That compared with 4,751 for the whole of last year and 8,500 in 2004.

According to the Red Cross, hundreds of would-be immigrants have drowned in seas off Spain since the end of last year. Many travel in overcrowded makeshift boats not suited to the high seas.

More people are coming to the Canary Islands because fences on the Moroccan border have proved to be quite effective for the Spanish.

Here are the fences in the enclaves of Melilla and Cueta, built by Spaniards, on the border with Morocco.

Unlike Mexico, which has struck an uncooperative stance with the United States, Morocco is cooperating with Spain on the issue of illegal immigration.

From PBS: May 11 2006:

The show of force is an effort to make sure Morocco is not flooded with migrants, says Khalid Zerouali, who was appointed by the Moroccan king to deal with illegal immigration.

KHALID ZEROUALI, Director of Migration and Border Surveillance, Morocco: If we don't do this, it will either endanger our situation, because we have millions -- not thousands -- millions of illegal migrants heading towards Morocco so that they can come close to Europe. And that constitutes a danger for us.
KHALID ZEROUALI: Many of our critics think that we are the jandan (ph) of Europe. We don't see it this way.

JEFFREY KAYE: Khalid Zerouali maintains his government's crackdown is not as a result of pressure from Europe. He casts it in a humanitarian light, as an effort to protect migrants from traffickers.

KHALID ZEROUALI: When they move northward, they will have to pay their ways. And you know the Saharan region, which is controlled by mafias. So they have to pay their ways in that region, either by paying in dollars and cents or by they conceding girls or minors.

"Morocco believes in a policy of shared responsibility to tackle the immigration issue. Morocco has done its duty," Khalid Zerouali told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.


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