Almost a quarter more illegal immigrants reached Spain this year than last year

by Lorraine Williamson
immigrants reached Spain
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Between 1 January and 31 October, a total of 34,343 immigrants reached Spain illegally. This is according to data made public by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday. This represents an increase of 23.7% compared to the same period last year. 

Of these more than 34,000 immigrants, more than 95%, (32,713) reached the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, or mainland coast by sea. 1,630 crossed the land borders with Ceuta and Melilla illegally. 

Most of the boats that reached Spain arrived on the Canary Islands. So far this year, there have been 422 boats, with 16,827 people on board. That is 44.3% more than in the first ten months of 2020. 

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In the Balearic Islands and on the mainland coast, 15,282 people have arrived, 7.6% more than the 14,202 counted in the same period last year. In Ceuta, the number of people crossing the border illegally also increased, from 453 between January and October 2020 to 596 in the same period of 2021. However, in Melilla, fewer illegal refugees arrived by sea. So far this year, 8 people have entered Spain there, seven fewer than the 15 in 2020. 

By land 

By land, the number of arrivals was much higher: the Ministry of the Interior estimates that there were 1,600 arrivals, not counting the figures of the ‘non-illegal immigrants who arrived in Ceuta on 17 and 18 May, during the migrant crisis’ according to the Ministry. This number represents a 14% increase compared to the same period in 2020, when 1,430 illegal arrivals were counted through the borders of Ceuta and Melilla. In Ceuta, the number rose from 153 last year to 588 this year. In Melilla, the number dropped from 1,277 to 1,042. 

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