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October 1996, Volume 3, Number 10

Illegal Immigration into Spain

Many Africans attempt to cross the Strait of Gibraltar by boat from Tangier, Morocco to Tarifa, Spain. The going rate is $600 to cross by boat at night, and Spanish police report that almost half of the 1,000 illegal aliens apprehended near Tarifa were caught in August.

There are two Spanish cities on the north coast of Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla, and they attract Black migrants from Mali and other countries who destroy their documents and request asylum. Under Spanish law, police must determine the identity and country of origin of an alien within 40 days or release him from detention. Spain flies those who are being returned to their countries of origin first from North Africa to Spain, and then to their home country, since Morocco refuses to take back persons who crossed into these Spanish cities from Morocco.

A Niger national was killed by security forces on September 23 during a demonstration Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. About 40 Africans, who were expelled from Spain in July, were demanding the right to return to Spain.

The EU recently promised to provide Morocco with $6 billion in aid between 1995 and 1999 in exchange for Moroccan help in curbing alien and drug smugglers. Morocco has stationed 25,000 troops on its coasts.

"African immigrant expelled from Spain killed during demonstration," BBC, September 25, 1996. "Spanish police break up two Chinese illegal-migrant operations," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 17, 1996. Marlise Simons, "Tangier a Magnet for Africans Slipping Into Spain," New York Times, August 26, 1996.