Spanish mayor opposes arrival of 114 migrants

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migrants to Almeria

The mayor of El Ejido has spoken out against the planned arrival of 114 migrants in the municipality in the province of Almeria. In this context, the Spanish government clarified on Thursday that it does not concern 200 illegal migrants, but 114 persons applying for international protection in the province of Almería.

According to a statement from the Secretary of State for Migration (SEM) of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, these migrants will be housed in a hotel in El Ejido. The migrants are mainly of Malian descent. They are being moved from another hotel in Almería, where they were previously housed after arriving from the Canary Islands.

Also read: Since October, 26,225 immigrants have been transferred from the Canary Islands to the mainland

Asylum request assessed positively

“This concerns 114 people who have applied for international protection and are waiting for their asylum application to be formalised,” the SEM said. “They are not illegal migrants and cannot be deported while their asylum application is pending.” This concerns people who “receive a positive response to their asylum request because they are nationals of a country at war.” In this regard, the SEM indicated that although the current occupancy of Hotel Cabo de Gata, in the El Toyo area of Almeria, is 274 people, tomorrow only a total of 274 people will be transferred to a newly opened resort in El Ejido.

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Local resistance

Mayor Góngora of the Popular Party has previously indicated that the government has contracted 200 beds for a period of one year in the ‘Ejido Hotel’. He emphasises that El Ejido is already one of the municipalities with the highest migration pressure in the country. “This Friday, the first 150 migrants from El Toyo will arrive at our hotel, in a municipality already heavily burdened by migration,” Góngora said.

Góngora expressed “very concern” and called the government’s decision “irresponsible”. The government representative, José María Martín, is from El Ejido himself and, according to the mayor, knows the situation very well. Góngora accuses Martín of acting secretly and behind the backs of the city council and the residents of El Ejido. Martín allegedly did not take El Ejido’s special needs into account.

Highest immigration rate in Spain

The mayor emphasises that El Ejido has the highest immigration rate in Spain. “We have 90,003 inhabitants and 32.5% foreign population. That amounts to more than 29,100 foreigners and an estimate of more than 4,000 permanent irregulars. That is why we completely disagree with this position. Furthermore, he points out that El Ejido has a coastline of 27 kilometres “as an entry point for illegal immigration, with mafias who trade with impunity with the so-called ‘narcolanchas’, with which we deal daily with a “total lack of troops and land , naval and air assets.” For this reason, “I wrote to the Secretary of State for Security, Rafael Pérez, requesting a meeting to discuss all these issues and request a reinforcement of resources, but we have not received a response.”

National distribution of migrants

The SEM recalls that the reception system has a network of resources spread throughout Spain. More than 300 municipalities in the country currently accommodate people within this system. “It does not concern 200 people and, moreover, they are not illegal,” the SEM insists. “These are asylum seekers who cannot be deported while their application is still being processed.”

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