Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Australia's handling of illegal immigrants has drawn a fair amount of criticism over recent years. Maybe it's time for the Howard government to a look at the how enlightened Europeans are handling a similar problem.

Droves of illegal immigrants out of Africa continue landing in Europe. Spain is a favourite destination:
More than 400 migrants landed on the Canary Islands last weekend while another 350 arrived in Spain in small boats on Monday. This year nearly 7,000 migrants have already landed on the islands. The number was around 4,750 in 2005 and just over 8,500 in 2004.
The EU has mounted a cooperative effort to stem the flood:
EU member states have agreed to help Spain to patrol the waters along the African coast in order to combat the increasing influx of illegal immigrants landing on the Canary Islands or on Spain's southern coastline.

Austria, Finland, France, Italy, UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Greece are all to take part in the patrols.

The operation will involve five patrol boats, five helicopters and an airplane which will attempt to reduce the number of boats sailing from Mauritania, Senegal and Cape Verde toward the southern part of Spain.
Exactly what action these patrols will take to reduce the number of illegals isn't specified in the EU Observer article excerpted above. The LA Times' reporting is slightly more informative:
About 8,000 migrants have been apprehended so far this year, nearly double the total in 2005. Humanitarian organizations estimate 2,000 more have perished at sea.

In the face of the African exodus, the Spanish government continues to focus on intercepting migrants before they arrive or making their journey as difficult as possible.
If Amnesty International is to be believed, those who don't perish at sea have "interception, returns, expulsion and detention" to look forward to. Hey, Africans might want to switch to Australia as a destination: the much longer and more dangerous voyage would be worth it because if they were eventually accepted as refugees they'd at least get to live amongst Australians.


Post a Comment

<< Home