More Than 1,600 Migrants Arrive on Spanish Canary Islands; One Boat Carried 320 People

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
October 23, 2023Europe
More Than 1,600 Migrants Arrive on Spanish Canary Islands; One Boat Carried 320 People
A wooden boat is towed by a Spanish Maritime Rescue Service ship as they arrive at the port of Los Cristianos in the south of Tenerife, in the Canary Island, Spain, on April 28, 2021. (Andres Gutierrez/AP Photo)

MADRID—Some 314 illegal migrants arrived in Spain’s Canary Islands in two boats early Monday, bringing to more than 1,600 the number of illegal migrants to reach the islands since Friday, emergency services said.

The service said one boat carrying 229 migrants was escorted to El Hierro island while another with 85 was taken to Tenerife .

Of the boats that arrived over the weekend, one on Saturday was carrying 320 illegal migrants. The state news agency EFE said it was the largest number in a single boat since human traffickers began to regularly use the Canary Island route in 1994. The previous record of 280 was recorded earlier this month.

Most of the boats arrived at El Hierro, which has received several thousand illegal immigrants in recent weeks. The Canary Islands are located off the northwest coast of Africa.

Most of the migrants come from sub-Saharan African countries and most of the boats depart from Senegal.

Illegal migrants arriving by boat in Spain spend 72 hours in police custody, for identification, then are moved into various reception or detention centers depending on their cases. Although some are deported, most apply for asylum and are taken to mainland Spain for their petitions to be studied.

Spain’s Interior Ministry says nearly 23,500 illegal migrants reached the Canary Islands by boat between Jan. 1 and Oct. 15. That’s a 90 percent increase from the same period last year.

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