Spain unable to control migration crisis in holiday hotspot as arrivals surge

Spain is losing control on migrant arrivals in the Canary Islands.

The President of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo, has expressed criticism over the government’s handling of the immigration emergency, highlighting what he called “different speeches” in the approach to the crisis.

Last Monday, the Acting Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced immediate measures to curb the influx of migrants via the Canary Route.

These measures included the deployment of two Civil Guard aircraft for coastal patrol, one stationed in Dakar (Senegal) to monitor the coasts of Senegal and Mauritania, and another joining patrol duties from the Canary Islands.

Despite these efforts, the number of arrivals has continued to surge, reaching record highs.

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Since the activation of these measures on October 17, the Canary Islands have witnessed a significant increase in migrant arrivals. On October 17, 613 people arrived irregularly, a number that rose to 788 on October 18.

Subsequent days saw similar trends, with boats carrying hundreds of migrants arriving almost daily.

El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, set a new record on October 21 with a boat carrying 320 migrants, including several babies, surpassing the previous record of 271 set earlier in the month.

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The Unified Association of Civil Guards (AUGC) has strongly criticised the government’s response to the crisis. AUGC spokesperson Pedro Carmona emphasised the lack of adequate resources and concrete instructions for dealing with the situation.

While the deployment of Civil Guard planes aids in surveillance, Carmona stressed the need for clear directives on how to handle incoming boats.

A meeting between Minister Marlaska, President Clavijo, Government delegate Anselmo Pestana, and other Canary Islands officials took place, but AUGC members felt it was insufficient. They highlighted the urgent need for more technical resources and personnel in the Civil Guard to address the challenges posed by the influx of migrants.

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