Canary Islands See Possible Record 8,000 Migrants in Single Month

A group of migrants arrive at the Port of Arguineguin after being rescued by the Spanish coast guard in the Canary Island of Gran Canaria on November 23, 2020. - Arrivals of migrants have soared in Spain's Canary Islands with more than 18,000 arriving from Africa so far this year, …

The Spanish Canary Islands saw over 8,000 migrants arrive in November, in what could be an all-time monthly record for the islands.

Spain’s Interior Ministry said 8,157 migrants arrived on the Canary Islands last month, making up a significant portion of the estimated 20,000 migrants who have come to the islands so far in 2020.

This year’s arrivals are upwards of ten times higher than landings in 2019, with the islands becoming overwhelmed due to the influx, according to a report from French newspaper Le Figaro.

The Spanish government will create temporary accommodation for up to 7,000 migrants after budgeting €84 million for the emergency project. Many migrants have also taken residency in local hotels as several remain empty due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic hampering the tourism trade.

According to Le Figaro, the Canary Islands, on the Atlantic migrant route, have become a popular destination for migrants after the European Union negotiated agreements with Turkey, Libya, and Morocco to stop migration along the central and eastern Mediterranean Sea routes.

The wave of migrants is also approaching the yearly record for the islands which took place in 2006 when 30,000 illegals arrived.

Local Canary Islanders have expressed opposition to the arrival of the migrants and their stays in hotels, with protests having taken place in recent weeks.

Antonio Morales, the cabinet president of Gran Canaria, criticised the European Union last month, saying: “Spain and the EU are trying to turn the Canaries into a second Lesbos and a kind of prison island. The strategy is clear: The migrants are supposed to feel like they have not arrived in Europe.”

Ricardo Ortega of the local fishermen’s association, meanwhile, stated that coronavirus was already harming the islands’ tourist industry and that the presence of large numbers of migrants could damage the sector even further.

“We live off tourism. Many tourists are staying away because of coronavirus. The pictures of masses of refugees could keep even more tourists away,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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