JAVIER Ramirez, the spokesman for SOS Racismo in Madrid, claimed that the arrival of the two boats of illegal immigrants in the Balearics last week was because vigilance has been stepped up in the Algeciras Straights and the south of the country, the usual gateway to Spain along with the Canary Islands.

It was also a major cause for concern, he said.
Ramirez explained that the arrival of illegal immigrants from Algiers presented greater difficulties for the authorities because of the “complex situation” caused by the fact that the Spanish Government has no repatriation agreement signed with the Algerian Government.

This is in contrast to the agreement it has with the Moroccan authorities, which allows the “almost immediate” deportation of illegal Moroccan immigrants.

With regard to the arrival of two boats carrying illegal immigrants in the Balearics last week he said that “the migratory flow is variable according to the migratory controls”, and added that in his opinion illegal immigrants “are taking more risks” in their eagerness to reach Spain.

At least 50 illegal immigrants were lost at sea after their boat capsized south of the Canary Islands last week. “As the Strait is almost impossible to cross because of the amount of vigilance there, people try the route further away from the Straits, which makes the crossing longer and therefore more hazardous”, explained Ramirez.

He added that it is now almost impossible to cross by the Algeciras Straights because of the Integral Vigilance System (SIVE), a mobile radar post. As a result, the immigrants are heading towards places which they consider more vulnerable, even though it means a longer crossing.

However, Majorca now has two mobile state of the art radar posts and is due to receive another for Ibiza.
Twelve of the 13 immigrants without documents who were arrested last Thursday after reaching the coast of Llucmayor by boat, were transferred over the weekend to the holding centre for foreigners in Barcelona, as demand rose for more resources to tackle the growing problem.

The boat, with 13 illegal immigrants on board, landed at S'Estalella, the seventh boat of its kind to reach the Balearic coasts since last September.
The Guardia Civil and Local Police initiated a search in which seven immigrants were arrested. The other six were located a few hours later in neighbouring towns and in Palma.

The eight metre boat was found between Cap Vallgornera and Cap de S'Estalella.
It had no cabin and a single 85hp Yamaha engine with Arabic markings. It is believed to have come from the Dellys region in Algeria.
The immigrants were taken to national police headquarters in Palma, where they remained until Saturday and were questioned as to their country of origin.

Once the permission of the judge had been received, they were transferred to the holding centre in Barcelona.
The immigrants arrested in Minorca face the same procedure.


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