Surge in migrant traffic to Spain
(20 August 2014)
A sudden increase in the numbers of migrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar by boat surprised Spain authorities earlier this week. According to the Spanish Red Cross, Spanish authorities intercepted as many migrants on Monday, 11 August and Tuesday, 12 August as they had in the previous year, but by Wednesday 13 August almost no boats were reported.
Morocco did not address the increase in migrant traffic specifically, but the Moroccan interior minister Mohamed Hasad noted that, “Dysfunctions may have happened and will be corrected very quickly.” Meanwhile, Spanish authorities suggested that strengthening fencing and surveillance systems at land border crossings in Melilla and Ceuta, two Spanish communities located in North Africa bordering Morocco, could have increased migrant traffic on sea routes. Analysts in Spain, on the other hand, argued that Moroccan authorities were behind the sudden surge of migrant crossings, as Moroccan enforcement cooperation has been key to Spanish strategies attempting to limit boat crossings in the Strait of Gibralter.
Migrants arriving in Spain from North Africa are detained for a maximum of 40 days, after which point they are allowed to apply for asylum or deported. Two local sports centres were converted into shelters to house the influx of migrants.
Spain Suspects Morocco Allowed a Brief Flood of Migrants, 15 August 2014, By Raphael Minder for the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/16/world/europe/spain-suspects-morocco-allowed-a-brief-flood-of-migrants.html