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Spain again appeals for more help from Europe to deal with immigrants

Spain again appeals for more help from Europe to deal with immigrants

Spain faces a humanitarian drama because of a relentless flood of undocumented African immigrants and absolutely must have more help from European colleagues to stem it, the interior minister told Parliament Thursday."Our country is simply the gateway to Europe," Alfredo Perez de Rubalcaba said. "It is clear that Spain alone cannot confront the migratory pressure from the African continent. It alone cannot undertake the task of controlling a border that is the most sensitive part of Europe's southern border."
He spoke after more than 250 Africans were caught trying to reach the Canary Islands in the past 24 hours _ the latest in a steady flood of poor Africans seeking to use Spain as a springboard to a better life in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.
Three crowded boats were intercepted as they tried to reach Tenerife, the island bearing the brunt of the influx of destitute people seeking a toehold in Europe, the Interior Ministry office there said.
The new arrivals raised the total so far this year to more than 19,000, nearly four times the figure for last year. In fact, in August alone more migrants arrived than in all of 2005, the government said.
Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega visited Brussels and pressed EU officials to consider the problem as a European one, not just Spain's dilemma.
Spanish authorities have complained that other European nations have failed to make good on pledges to send patrol boats and aircraft to help stem the flow after a similar spike in arrivals in May.
In Spain, the conservative opposition Popular Party charged that the Socialist government had made this country an irresistible lure for poor Africans by granting amnesty last year to hundreds of thousands of undocumented foreigners who were already living here.
The party's top official for social issues, Ana Pastor, said the government "has made Spain a paradise for traffickers" who charge large sums of money to send Africans to Spain.


Updated : 2021-10-20 21:39 GMT+08:00