Il­le­gal mi­gra­tion low­est since 2013

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - SPAIN NEWS - By Jack Troughton [email protected]­

But cross­ings to Spain from Mo­rocco soar

THE num­ber of peo­ple caught at­tempt­ing to en­ter the Euro­pean Union il­le­gally has dropped to its low­est level in five years.

Fron­tex, the EU bor­der agency, es­ti­mated that 150,000 il­le­gal cross­ings were reg­is­tered over 2018; the low­est amount of hu­man mi­gra­tion since 2013 and some 92% down on 2015; re­garded as the peak of the mi­grant cri­sis.

How­ever, the western Mediter­ranean route is now the most ac­tive, with il­le­gal land­ings in Spain dou­bling for the sec­ond year run­ning.

Num­bers of peo­ple at­tempt­ing to cross the sea and en­ter Italy have fallen sharply, Fron­tex stress­ing this was be­cause of the pop­ulist gov­ern­ment re­fus­ing to al­low res­cue boats ac­cess to dock at its ports.

The num­bers of peo­ple de­tected last year was also a quar­ter down on 2017 – the big­gest fall on the cen­tral Mediter­ranean route from north­ern Africa to south­ern Italy, down by 80% to just over 23,000. Depar­tures from Libya dropped by 87% and from Al­ge­ria by nearly half.

Fron­tex, which mon­i­tors all of the EU’s ex­ter­nal bor­ders, said the num­ber of peo­ple caught ar­riv­ing in Spain dou­bled to 57,000 over the last 12 months.

The United Na­tion’s refugee agency has warned that while the num­ber of mi­grants ar­riv­ing in Europe has fallen, the num­ber of deaths has climbed sharply – it is feared that over 2,000 peo­ple per­ished or went miss­ing when at­tempt­ing to make cross­ings to Europe in 2018.

And the UN spe­cial en­voy for the cen­tral Mediter­ranean said the jour­ney had be­come more dan­ger­ous be­cause traf­fick­ers were tak­ing more risks in a bid to avoid in­creased sur­veil­lance by in­ter­na­tional au­thor­i­ties.

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