More migrants reach Canarys in August than 2005

29th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 August 2006, LAS PALMAS — More illegal immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands this month than all of last year, according to figures released on Tuesday.

29 August 2006

LAS PALMAS — More illegal immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands this month than all of last year, according to figures released on Tuesday.

A total of 4,772 arrived in August, surpassing the 4,751 who reached the Spanish territory during all of 2005.

Nearly 19,000 African immigrants were detained this year while trying to enter Europe via the Canary Islands.

The figures were provided by Canary Islands regional government and emergency services officials.

Representatives of the governing party on the islands said the bodies of 496 would-be immigrants have also been recovered from the waters between Africa and the Canarys.

But that is only a fraction of the estimated number of people who have perished.

Canary-New Canary Coalition spokesman Paulino Rivero complained in the Spanish parliament that "one out of every four boats (that sets sail for the archipelago) ... is lost at sea," implying that at least some 3,000 migrants have drowned.

Madrid is appealing to the European Union to allocate more resources to be able to increase local authorities' ability to handle the migrant flow.

Rivero said the government's immigration policy "needs to change course; it's misguided and is taking on water".

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero visited two processing centers for illegal immigrants in Gran Canaria earlier this month.

The Spanish leader said more marine patrols would be deployed and political efforts would be expanded to bring about repatriations.

Zapatero said his government would also bolster development aid to the source countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The prime minister said he was "not going to hide" from the problem of illegal immigration, which was a "serious and long-range" challenge.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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