A lot of folks (well, American folks) have expressed surprise that immigration is such a burning issue here in Spain and in Europe in general. So to give a little snapshot of what’s going on, here are the translations of recent headlines I’ve come across, in this case concerning Spain.

To explain, every summer waves of immigrants flow towards Spain, and far too many literally wash up on the shores. Dead. Ceuta, mentioned above, is one of the cities, along with Melilla, that are Spanish territory, but fall within the North African mainland, on the Moroccan coast (map). Obviously this makes them quite a target as a gateway to Europe. The above-mentioned fence in Ceuta, keeping people out of the city, is notorious here, and that someone managed to scale it’s barbed-wire heights is indeed newsworthy. Subsaharans, you will note, are the population most frequently found, floating across the mediterranean, often in shocking conditions, to the coasts of mainland Spain, to Tenerife, and the Canary Islands (though arrivals to the Canaries are down recently).

If 1,167 people died trying to get into Spain you can imagine the numbers who arrived in need of medical assistance, suffering from starvation, exposure and dehydration. This is a big problem for Spain, and they’ve been asking help from the wider European community for the adequate resources to tackle this problem and to care for those who arrive, and who usually end up in detention centers.

Speaking of detention centers, here’s another headline . “Ceuta urgently needs money to attend to immigrant minors.” They’ve got about a hundred or so to care for at the moment, mostly Moroccan. According to this article, the Temporary Immigrant Holding Center (CETI) in Cueta, gets an average of 6 new residents a day and, as of the end of June when this article came out, there were 480 people there, with a maximum of 512 spaces.

And speaking of shared responsibility, a recent incident involving Malta (wow, two Malta references in such a short span, who knew there was so much going on there!) is leading the little island, along with Spain, to propose a plan to “share” the immigrants found drifting on the high seas among various EU member states so that no one state is burdened with the cost of their care and eventual repatriation.

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