The first three weeks of this year have seen more than 2,000 illegal migrants reach Spain, roughly 40% more than the number of recorded arrivals in 2021, the latest figures released by the Spanish government have revealed.
According to a report from the Spanish newspaper La Gaceta, which cites data collected by the Interior Ministry and State Security Forces and Bodies (FCSE), a police force that operates at the national level, the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Galicia, and the Canary Islands all saw the largest influxes of illegal migrants in the first weeks of 2022.
While well over half of the newly arrived illegal migrants (1,200) landed on the Canary Islands, an archipelago of eight islands situated in the Pacific Ocean off of Africa’s northwestern coastline, another 650 migrants landed in the Balearic Islands and in municipalities in Andalusia, like the coastal cities of Almería and Cádi.
Sitting just a few hundred kilometers from the northern coastline of Algeria, the city of Almería saw the vast majority of new arrivals in the Andalusian territory, recording the 30th boat to arrive from North Africa this year, per figures from the Civil Guard.
Authorities in the Balearic Islands—an autonomous community and archipelago which lies off of Spain’s east coast—also observed a steady flow of boat migrants arriving from the North African coast, recording nearly 200 illegal arrivals so far this year.
Before the 16th of this month, the interior ministry registered the arrival of 1,604 illegal migrants, a 16% percent uptick year over year. However, in the three days that followed, another 400 migrants were documented as having arrived in Spain, bringing the total number of arrivals in the first three weeks to more than 2,000, a 40% increase from the 1,400 migrants that were estimated by the United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) to have arrived in the first three weeks of 2021.
The steady stream of migrants illegally entering Spain is by no means a new phenomenon. In recent years, however, the problem has worsened and the stream is beginning to resemble a river. According to data from the United Nations, three of the past four years have seen more than 40,000 illegal immigrants make their way to Spain. Most arrivals are men from Algeria, Morocco, Mali, Guinea, and Ivory Coast. Before 2017, yearly figures tended to fluctuate between 5,000 and 10,000 illegal arrivals.