The Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, José Luis Escrivá, announced this Friday that between now and the end of the year the Canary Islands will have 7,000 temporary reception places in tents to empty the port of Arguineguín and the hotel establishments. The minister assured in Las Palmas that this measure aims to “redirect the migration crisis” in the islands. Works will also begin to enable barracks assigned by Defense and consolidate a fixed reception network in the archipelago. The plan assumes that the migratory pressure in the Canary Islands will continue. The reception will focus on the islands.
“It is clear that we could have arrived earlier and that we could have had more anticipation capacity, but the important thing is to look ahead,” said José Luis Escrivá during his visit on Friday. The Minister of Migration appeared before the media accompanied by the President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres (PSOE), the Secretary of State for Migration, Hana Jalloul, and the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos, after visiting the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Maritime Rescue Center. Together with them, Escrivá presented an emergency reception plan.
So far this year, around 18,300 people have reached the Canary Islands; 65% of them, to Gran Canaria; 20% to Tenerife; and 10% to Fuerteventura. Of the total, Escrivá estimates that only 10% can be considered vulnerable or will be able to access refugee status. The epicenter of this migratory phenomenon has been the port of Arguineguín, which currently houses just over 1,300 people, although it has reached 2,300 peaks in a dike of just 3,600 square meters. In addition, 17 hotels and apartment buildings house 5,500 migrants, according to data from the Ministry.
It is planned that the people hosted in the hotels will be rehoused in the temporary tents of half a dozen facilities. The minister explained that this action plan will consist of two phases: a first with emergency solutions and another, in which they will try to create stable networks.
In Gran Canaria, the León School will have 300 places in tents, although in the future 400 places will be set up indoors. In addition, work is underway on the Canarias 50 military barracks, which will have 650 temporary places and will be available from December. Currently, this barracks has become the property of the Ministry of Inclusion, although it will be transferred to the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Council as soon as the emergency phase ends. Later, this barracks will have 1,150 places in prefabricated modules. In addition, Bankia has lent a 7,000-square-meter warehouse in an industrial estate in the capital where there is capacity for 500 people.
Tenerife, for its part, already has the Las Canteras barracks, which has a capacity for 1,800 places in 10 buildings. In the future, it will reach 2,000 places. Migrations is also preparing the land in Las Raíces, in El Rosario. This is a temporary assignment from the Ministry of Defense, where until December they will install 1,500 places in tents. Finally, in Fuerteventura, there is the El Matorral barracks, which will have 700 places. Once this first phase is finished, Gran Canaria will have 1,950 new reception places; Tenerife, with 3,250 places, and Fuerteventura, with 700. To these we must add the 1,100 places in centers that depend on the ministry that are already in use.
The stable resources, which will be progressively developed throughout 2021, will reach a total of 6,450 places and will be financed with 43 million from the EU Recovery Fund.
The Secretariat of State for Migration will have a coordination center in the Canary Islands with stable personnel that will allow emergency situations to be quickly organized, in which the Government Delegation in the Canary Islands will also be represented. This center will be up and running in 15 days.
No to referrals
This reception plan for Migrations means that the Canary Islands will continue to be a kind of migratory plug. The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has in fact ruled out this Friday the massive or regular transfer of immigrants from the Canary Islands to the Peninsula, a decision that has been linked to “migration policies, which are of the EU as a whole, and not only from Spain ”, reports Efe. The minister was traveling in Rabat (Morocco), where he met with his counterpart, Abdeluafi Laftit, to try to contain the migratory phenomenon. “When it comes to moving to the Peninsula [digo]: we must fight against irregular emigration and prevent irregular entry routes to Europe from being established ”.
This announcement clashes with the words pronounced this Friday by the Canarian president, who reiterated the will to accept “a percentage of migrants in solidarity” and was blunt: “I flatly refuse that the Canary Islands receive 100% of the migrants. We cannot alone. We can’t handle that, “he said after recalling that so far this year between 500 and 1,000 people have lost their lives trying to reach the islands.
Various autonomous communities, including Castilla y León, have been willing to receive migrants. The Minister of Migration, José Luis Escrivá, pointed out, however, that the referrals will be limited to vulnerable people.
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