The President of the Canary Islands has demanded that central government set up a crisis committee to address the problem of illegal immigration affecting the islands, a situation which he describes as 'critical.'
More than 400 illegal immigrants reached the Canaries on August 16, with another 93 arriving on the following day. Two had died on the journey.
Adin Martin has called on both Spain and Europe to multiply their efforts in the face of what he calls an untenable emergency situation, which he said is a problem not only of his community, but also of Spain, and of Europe.
He gave figures for the year so far: a staggering 16,400 immigrants have reached the coast of the Islands since January, more than triple the 4,751 arrivals in 2005.
Of all illegal immigrants who arrived on the Canaries this year, 388 were children.
Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants attempt to leave Africa and arrive in the European Union every year. The crossing of the Mediterranean Sea appears deceptively easy when viewed on a world-scale map. In fact, the journey can take weeks.
The Canary Islands, located off the Northwest coast of Africa near the border of Senegal and Morocco, is a Spanish territory. Compared to crossing the Mediterranean, a boat trip to the Canaries does not seem dangerous. In theory, migrants reaching the islands are on European Union soil and may travel without visa or passport across most borders.
As detailed in several articles below, the problem is quite severe, causing great loss of life and economic hardship for nearly every party involved. Organized human trafficking and extreme poverty, no matter the loss of life, has been driving the surge of migrants who dream that residency in Europe is easy to obtain.Related:
• EU launches marine border squad
• EU to invest in development of Africa to slow immigration
• EU and Africa meet to discuss migration problems
• Malta experiences illegal immigrant crush, requests EU help
• African migrants attempt entry into the EU via Mediterranean
• European Commission plans spyplanes to patrol EU borders
• Would be migrants flock to Europe by sea