Spain leads European nations for new migrant arrivals in 2018 according to a new report from the International Organization for Migrants (IOM).
For the first time since Europe’s migrant crisis began in 2014, Spain has taken in more immigrants than either Greece or Italy, IOM reports. As of mid-July, Spain has taken in 18,016 migrants, compared to 17,827 in Italy and 14,678 in Greece.
As Breitbart News reported a week ago, Italy’s immigration figures have dropped dramatically in 2018, thanks in part to its new populist government, and numbers for the first half of the year reflect an 80 percent decline over the same period of 2017.
According to data released earlier this month by the United Nations immigration agency (UNHCR), a total of 16,919 migrants arrived by sea into Italy prior to July 8, whereas over the same period in 2017 a total of 85,197 migrants had arrived.
As both the UNHCR and IOM have observed, Mediterranean migrant deaths have also dropped in 2018, a logical consequence to having fewer migrants on the seas.
For the first half of 2018, sea deaths fell from 2,258 to less than half that, or 1,058, in the same six-month period. The decline in migrant sea deaths due to more restrictive immigration policies supports the argument that more stringent immigration regulation in these situations helps save lives, contrary to unsubstantiated arguments to the contrary.
The total number of migrants lost at sea reached its highest point in 2016, with 4,578 migrants determined to be either dead or missing. That year also marked the record number of migrants arriving across the Mediterranean onto Italian shores, a total of 181,436, UNHCR declared.
The noteworthy decline in migrant arrivals began with agreements made last summer between Italy and the Libyan coast guard to prevent NGOs from shuttling migrants from the coast of that nation to Italy and has been further augmented by the new populist government’s staunch stance against illegal immigration and its opposition to the infamous NGO “taxi service” from North Africa.
Spain’s new role as leader among European nations in international immigration reflects policies of Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who offered to take in 629 migrants on board the rescue ship Aquarius last June, when both Italy and Malta refused to allow the vessel to dock in their ports.
Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, refused to allow the Aquarius to disembark its passengers at an Italian port, reversing standard Italian practice over the past several years.
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