ALMERIA and El Ejido National Police rescued nearly 6,500 immigrants risking their lives to reach the Almeria shore in 2019, among them 337 unaccompanied minors.
Over the year police intercepted 264 small boats, some of them nothing more than rubber dinghies.
Once the immigrants on board were safe and sound on dry land, and their state of health had been checked, officers from the Almeria station began the administrative processes set out in the Foreigners’ Law for dealing with each case.
In all 714 immigrants were returned to their home countries under bilateral agreements between Spain and other nations on immigration issues. In the rest of the cases, and taking into account individuals’ special needs, police put the necessary mechanisms in motion for them to be put in the care of NGOs.
Minors travelling without an adult are considered particularly vulnerable and were immediately placed under the guardianship of the Junta de Andalucia’s Protection Service for Minors, while at the same time the Almeria police continued with the necessary processes so they be reunited with their families.
Police investigations in 2019 connected with illegal immigrants, with the support of European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), resulted in the detention of 19 small boat skippers on charges of crimes against the rights of foreign citizens, profiting from transporting people across the Mediterranean and putting the lives of others in danger due to the poor state of maintenance of the boats used.
There were 20 investigations into illegal immigration networks over the 12 months, resulting in 127 arrests.