Cultural Revolutions

Influx of Illegal Aliens

The European Union will set up rapid-reaction teams to deal with an increasing flood of illegal African immigrants on Europe’s southern flank.  The decision was made by the European Commission at a July 19 meeting spurred on by complaints from Spain, Italy, and Malta.  Illegal immigration to Spain via the Canary Islands has increased sharply this year: According to media accounts, 11,000 African illegals made their way to the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa in the first half of 2006, more than doubling last year’s number.  The European Union also proposes to strengthen Europe’s external borders, coordinate repatriation policies with member states, and impose stiffer fines on employers hiring illegal immigrants.

While Spain and Italy have both been under pressure from increasing illegal immigration, tiny Malta brought the issue to a head by refusing to admit 51 Africans picked up by a Spanish fishing trawler in the Mediterranean.  The Maltese government argued that the trawler was closer to the coast of Libya than Malta when the Africans were picked up.  Spain asked Brussels to intervene.  (The standoff was settled when several E.U. countries agreed to divide up the illegal immigrants among them—and Malta did receive a share.)  In the meantime, the European Union has pledged to set up patrols in the Mediterranean off Malta’s coast.


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