Record number of migrants arrive in Spain


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) - incorporated into the United Nations system in late 2016 - says the number of migrants arriving in Spain is three times higher than it was this time past year.

According to El Pais, which quoted sources from European Union border agency Frontex, smugglers want on average 1,000 euros per passenger against last year's 500.

Ceuta and Melilla are today the main entry points to Spain for illegal migrants, 90% of whom are men, mainly from sub-Sahara.

The Spanish Red Cross, whose workers are among the first to tend to migrants when they arrive, says it has treated double the number of sea-arriving migrants in southern Spain during the first since six months of 2017 compared to a year earlier.

"If so, that's a big change".

Putting the situation in perspective, the IOM says that since the beginning of 2015, more than 1 million migrants have gone to Greece, 430,000 to Italy, and just 29,000 to Spain. The migrants in Spain most often have no identification and are usually young males from Morocco, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast and a handful of other West African countries, according to quotes by police.

He added that the boats crossing the short but choppy sea to Spain were much smaller than those launching from Libya to Italy.

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"Whereas in Spain, the strategy is smaller craft hoping to come in undetected, and undoubtedly some do".

They are all minors in their teens and, while they did not have any ID on them, are thought to be from Morocco, police were quoted as saying.

By the time authorities had arrived, the group had dispersed and left the beach.

The migrants were eventually rounded up and taken to a reception centre, where they can apply for asylum in Spain.

"It's always surprising to see pregnant women and children - even if there aren't many - who try to cross in these conditions, risking their life and that of the kids for a better life".

Both cities are the EU's only land borders with Africa.