Spain’s socialist government plans to build 30-foot high walls around its North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to stop illegal migrants.
The new border structures will dwarf the current fencing around the two Spanish cities on the North African coast, which is around 10 feet tall and topped with barbed wire.
Despite these existing barriers, both Ceuta and Melilla — just across the sea from the Spanish mainland on the borders of Morocco — have seen many migrants storm the border in recent years.
1,000 African Migrants Armed with Improvised Spears Storm Spanish Border https://t.co/DaJMjDEeaa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 9, 2017
According to a report from Italian newspaper Il Giornale, the new walls will not be topped with barbed wire, in order to prevent injury of migrants who do make it to the top of the wall. But a steel cylinder will be placed at the top to make it harder for migrants to get over.
The project comes after around 300 migrants stormed the enclave of Melilla on Thursday morning. According to local security forces, the attack started at around 6 a.m. and around 50 migrants broke into the Spanish — and, by extension, European Union — territory.
Migrant Smugglers with ‘President’ and ‘Prime Minister’ Organising Violent Attacks on Spanish Border Guards https://t.co/qsjF5tKKoV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 25, 2018
The migrants, according to the authorities, were mainly from sub-Saharan Africa. They said it was just the latest incident in which migrants attacked the border this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, with a group of around 250 making an attempt in April.
Since January an estimated 11,460 migrants have arrived in Spanish territory via various routes, with many arriving in the Canary Islands off north-west Africa via boat.
While illegal migration is down overall due to the pandemic, the islands, popular with British tourists and expats, have seen a 454 per cent increase in arrivals compared to the same period in 2019.
Huge Boatload of Illegal Migrants Storms Luxury Resort Beach in Spain https://t.co/rmY92ICgkT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 28, 2018
Experts and agencies such as the European Union border agency Frontex expect illegal migration to rise dramatically in the coming months if lockdowns are eased.
The EU’s European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has also reported that the number of new asylum applications in June was triple the number of the month before, with many of the new arrivals landing in Italian territory.
Frontex: Migrant Numbers Beginning to Surge as Coronavirus Lockdowns Ease https://t.co/srbxVjxq0O
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 16, 2020