Morocco To Accept Back 120 Illegal Immigrants Who Landed On Spanish Beaches.
AFTER more than a year of border lockdown, Spain and Morocco reached an agreement to facilitate the quick return of between 110 and 120 young Moroccans who had fled from Ceuta, 60 of them only arrived last weekend.
“It is a process that has been developed between the two governments,” explained sources from the Government Delegation. The action, managed in record time by the Ministry of the Interior, represents an exception to the position held up to now by Rabat, which normally only accepts the repatriation of its nationals trapped in Ceuta or Melilla.
At least 128 people managed to access Ceuta between Saturday and Sunday last week. Several groups of young people, including about 30 minors, jumped into the sea from a beach in the neighboring Moroccan town of Castillejos, bordering the Tarajal border breakwater. Two people sadly died, three had to be taken to hospital with symptoms of hypothermia and others are still missing.
Morocco did not activate any type of rescue or containment protocol until Monday when Gendarmerie troops were deployed on the coast to prevent any further attempts to jump into the water.
“They called us in the afternoon to set up the assistance mechanism,” says Isabel Valriberas, dean of the Ceuta Bar Association. Only on Monday afternoon, a score of return files had already been handled in an extraordinary way, while the newcomers remained in a warehouse waiting for quarantine, according to the sanitary protocol against Covid. The urgency was due to the fact that the National Police had instructions to initiate return proceedings as soon as possible, from which minors are excluded.
Since the start of the pandemic, Rabat has only accepted the return, in May, September and October, of nationals trapped in Ceuta and Melilla in a dozen scheduled batches at a time.
Illegal Immigrants arriving on Spanish shores this year have increased by 21 per cent since January compared to the same time last year. According to data from the latest available report from the Ministry of the Interior, between January 1 and April 15, 7,175 people entered the country irregularly, 1,200 more immigrants than in 2020 – the year that marked the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: El Pais