In the first two weeks of this year, 1,604 migrants have already reached Spain illegally, data from Spain’s Interior Ministry show. This is the highest figure recorded in this period since 2019 when there were more than 3,000 illegal migrants.
Compared to the same period in 2021, this represents a 16% increase, despite a decrease in the number of migrants who entered Spain illegally via the Canary Islands and overland via Ceuta and Melilla.
Majority came by sea
According to Ministry figures, a total of 1,585 migrants arrived by sea in the first 14 days of this year. 790 migrants reached the coasts of the Canary Islands, down 26.1% from over 1,000 who reached the archipelago in the first days of 2021. 19 people crossed the border illegally through the gates of Ceuta and Melilla.
Routes via Balearic Islands and Spain on the rise
Remarkably high is the 346% increase of illegal arrivals on the Balearic Islands and the rest of the Spanish coast. In the first two weeks of 2022, 750 migrants arrived in Spain via these routes, compared to 168 in the same period last year.
Ceuta and Melilla
Compared to 2021, there was also an increase in the number of arrivals by sea via Ceuta. There were 9 in 2021, compared to 13 arrivals in the first half of January this year. During this period, 32 migrants illegally entered Melilla, while no arrivals were registered there in the same period of 2021.
While the number of migrants coming to the autonomous cities by sea increased, the number of illegal arrivals by land decreased. In Ceuta, the number dropped from 70 in the first two weeks of 2021 to 17 in the same period of 2022. And where 60 migrants arrived illegally in Melilla in early January last year, there were only two in the first two weeks of this year.
Record number of migrants in 2019
These Interior Ministry figures for the first half of January represent an increase over the figures for the same periods in 2021 (1,376) and 2020 (1,487). It is also an increase compared to the data recorded for the first two weeks of 2018 (1,052). Compared to 2017, the figures have more than doubled (772), according to a series of figures from the Home Office, which collects detailed figures every fortnight between 2017 and 2022. Only 2019 saw a higher recorded number of illegal arrivals. That was 3,128 in the first two weeks of that year.
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