One of the major ports Arguineguín, has been transformed into a makeshift camp, and migrants are hastily transferred to hotels or former military installations. Since the start of the year, more than 16 700 African migrants have arrived illegally on the coasts of the Canaries, mainly from Morocco.
The archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean is located off the north-western coast of the African continent. In 2020, it has seen an immigration influx which is eleven times higher than the levels reached in 2019. According to the regional government of the Canaries, at least five hundred people perished during these extremely dangerous attempts to cross, the nearest African coasts being more than a hundred kilometers away, French daily Le Monde reported.
“We are not going to transform the Canaries into a new Lesbos,” the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, said, alluding to the emblematic Greek island, or the “door” to the European Union. There, camps are flooded with illegals and living conditions have been denounced by many international organizations.
The Spanish leadership visited Rabat recently to meet the authorities “to strengthen collaboration and work jointly […] to avoid these departures” of migrants, according the Minister of Spanish Territorial Policy, Carolina Darias.
For Madrid, preventing a saturation of the archipelago’s reception capacities requires emphasizing a “return policy”. When the illegals arrive on the island, most receive an expulsion order and are quickly escorted by plane to their country of origin.
One of the 14 ground stations in the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) to support the NASA space program, is located on the Canaries.