Bathers witnessed dramatic scenes on a Spanish beach on Friday when a vessel overflowing with migrants landed in the surf. Its occupants quickly disappeared among the stunned holidaymakers with the police in hot pursuit of the illegal arrivals.
Spain is experiencing a huge surge in human traffic while those in Italy have fallen considerably. Between 1 January and 25 July 2017, 94 448 migrants made their way to Italy while only 18 130 arrived during the same period in 2018, according to the IOM.
Spanish authorities is continuing its rescue of migrants from Mediterranean with 200 pulled from 10 boats on Saturday.
Statista recorded 6 513 Mediterranean arrivals in Spain in the first seven months of 2017 and that has now climbed steeply to 20 992 between 1 January and 25 July 2018. According to Bloomberg the number is even higher, with some 22 000 people have reached the Spanish shores so far this year, almost as many as in the whole of 2017 and compared with 10 500 people the previous year.
The surge of migrants to Spain comes in the wake of Libya clamping down on human traffickers and that has resulted in higher numbers of migrants attempting to make the crossing from Algeria and Morocco.
Comments on a video on YouTube showing “refugees” landing, noted that they were virtually all men and looked to be in good health. It is not the first time such scenes have been witnessed on Spanish beaches.
In August last year, migrants in a vessel made it onto a beach in Zahara de Los Atunes on the southern coast of Spain before scattering into hiding.
Struggling with an unemployment rate of over 15 percent and a staggering youth unemployment rate of around 33 percent, Spain’s pro-immigration Interior Ministry nevertheless paid around €3.5 million euros for a new administrative unit in Cadiz to deal with the “emergency” caused by the “unexpected and massive arrival of vessels with immigrants to the Spanish coasts”.
Some 1200 migrants have arrived in Spain via the Strait of Gibraltar, Murcia and Alicante in just the last two days alone. The Spanish administration said in a statement issued on Sunday night that it expected the trend to continue for the rest of the year.
Spain’s Socialist premier Pedro Sanchez, is already facing criticism only two months after taking office, for allowing a migrant rescue ship, the Aquarius, to dock after Italy refused it access to ports in Sicily.
“It’s not fair to talk about a pull effect,” Madrid countered. “The government took decisions with the Aquarius for humanitarian reasons and to show that it’s possible to have a different kind of immigration policy in the European Union.”
Pablo Casado, who heads the main opposition People’s Party said Spain can not afford an open-border policy. “There aren’t papers for everyone,” said Casado. “It isn’t possible to absorb millions of Africans who want to come to Europe, seeking a better future.”
Meanhile in Australia, all African immigration into the country has been called into question by former prime minister Tony Abbott amid the debate over Sudanese “gangs” in Melbourne.
Abbott, speaking on 2GB radio in Sydney, argued that “we store up trouble for ourselves” by letting in people who are “difficult to integrate”.
Abbott noted that Sudanese-born people in Victoria constituted less than 0.1 per cent of the population, but were responsible for “well over” 1 per cent of all crimes committed in that state, and were 57 times more likely to commit aggravated robbery than the general population.
“So there is a problem,” he said. “It’s an African gang problem, and the Victorian socialist government should get real and own up to the fact that there is an African gang problem in Melbourne.”
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