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Minister shoots down ‘ridiculous’ idea of Algarve illegal immigration network

Published on 17/06/2020

The Minister of Internal Administration said on Tuesday that Portugal “should not be ridiculous” when considering the possibility of an illegal migration network to the Algarve, taking into account that since December 48 immigrants have landed have arrived by boat from Morocco.

“I don’t want to dramatize what I see being discussed a lot, we must not be ridiculous, we must anticipate and be rigorous in the investigation”, said Eduardo Cabrita in a meeting of parliamentary committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees.

The minister responded to the CDS-PP MP Telmo Correia, who questioned him over the 22 migrants from North Africa, who were detected in the early hours of Monday on a vessel off the coast of Vale de Lobo, in the Algarve, totalling 48 illegal immigrants who arrived in the country in a similar manner within the past six months.

“We are talking about four landings since December of 48 people, we must have some dimension of the ridiculousness when comparing with what are 7,500 arrivals in Spain since January, even with a significant reduction in arrivals verified this year”, said the minister.

The minister stressed that the principles on migration “are very clear” and include welcoming those who lack international protection, also defending maintaining a GNR presence around the Greek islands, working alongside the SEF and Maritime Police on a humanitarian mission to aid in the migrant crisis.

Cabrita underlined that, at the moment, Portugal has three legal migration agreements pending with Morocco, India and Moldova. “What we want with Morocco is to set up a mechanism for legal and prepared migration,” he said, arguing that what is illegal immigration should be the subject of investigation and legal treatment.