2,000 African Boat Migrants Land on the Canary Islands Over the Weekend

Migrants are helped upon their arrival at Puerto de Arguineguin harbour following their rescue by a Spanish coast guard vessel off the Canary coast on September 8, 2020, making a total of 419 migrants sheltered at the the Red Cross tents installed in Puerto de Arguineguin on the Canary island …
DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

A surge of illegal boat migrants from Africa landed on the Spanish Canary Islands over the weekend, in numbers not seen since 2006.

Between Saturday and Sunday, approximately 2,000 migrants on 45 boats landed on the Spanish archipelago, which is off the coast of the African nation Western Sahara.

The vice president of the local Canary Islands government, Román Rodríguez, criticised the Spanish government for failing to help assist the Spanish territory during the growing migrant crisis.

Rodríguez said that Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has shown “little commitment” to helping stem the tide of migrants, according to the local newspaper La Provincia.

The massive influx of migrants over the weekend forced the local government to put up the illegal aliens in hotels, as the migrant camps on the island were quickly overwhelmed.

Spanish Minister of Migration, José Luis Escrivá said: “In the Canary Islands we do not have a structural reception capacity as we would like to have.”

The Spanish government has revealed that since the start of the year, some 11,000 migrants have landed on the Canary Islands, compared to 2,557 during the same period last year. The influx of illegal aliens from Africa is the highest recorded since 2006 when some 39,000 landed on the islands.

The Canary Islands, which lie just 100 kilometres off the coast of North Africa, have seen a massive uptick in the number of illegal boat migrants following border control pacts between the European Union and Turkey, Morocco, and Libya.

A spokeswoman for the Canary immigration emergency services said that at least one migrant died trying to reach El Hierro island.

The European Union’s EU internal affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Friday that the bloc must increase the number of deportations of illegal migrants who do not qualify for asylum.

Amidst the growing migrant crisis in the Canary Islands, as well as in Greece and Italy, the EU has committed to updating the bloc’s policy towards illegal immigration and to abolish the Dublin agreement, which mandates that migrants claim asylum in the first EU member state they arrive in.

The new immigration agreement is said to permit countries to pay for the costs of repatriating migrants who do not qualify for asylum, rather than being forced to keep them.

Meanwhile, some 100 illegal boat migrants have landed in England since Thursday of last week, with 56 landing on Thursday, another 40 on Friday, and 8 illegals on Saturday.

The number of illegal migrants recorded to have reached the UK is quickly approaching 8,000 since the start of the year, up from 1,890 for the entirety of 2019.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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