Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Immigration to the EU Through Spain

Lorca-Susino, Maria (2006): Immigration to the EU Through Spain. Published in: European Union Miami Analysis (EUMA) , Vol. 2, (June 2006): 0-7.

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Over the past decade, boatloads of illegal immigrants began arriving on beaches near Gibraltar and since then, Spain has been placing more obstacles to stop this flow. Spain is part of the European Union and geographically is fourteen kilometres from North Africa at the Strait of Gibraltar, there are also direct land borders at the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the Canary Islands are one hundred kilometres away from the West African coast—see maps below. Furthermore, the population boom in much of the African continent is outstripping economic growth so the number of illegal immigrants arriving to Spain has been rising. This trend began in 2005 when the number of the illegal immigrants –sin papeles— crossing the Strait of Gibraltar was uncontrollable and rose in only six months an amazing 191%. This situation led to the implementation of new border protections, the results was that illegal immigration, like water flowing downhill, found a new path of least resistance that have taken them to Canary Islands. Just in the first five months of 2006, the number reaching the islands is already reaching 8,000 people. This increase in international illegal immigration especially from African countries is challenging the social and political structures and solidarity of Spain and the European Union. In this paper I will discuss some immigration trends in international migration coming to Europe through Spain, a “new” country of immigration, which recently is becoming a waiting ¨room¨ for international illegal immigration.

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