Motril has received record numbers of migrants this year already and we’re only in September. This human tragedy was brought into sharp focus yesterday as the Motril Town Hall arranged the burial of the five migrants, four men and one woman, who lost their lives at sea after their inflatable boat was sank.
At the same time, a further 22 migrants were discovered in a lorry during a routine road check in Albuñol.
To give an idea of how the problem is increasing; in 2004 Motril received its first influx and the port hosted 2,859 people. Then in 2017 the number was up to 3,838 people rescued. So far, during 2018, the port has already received 5,300 migrants. In other words, with over three months of the year left the number has already increased by 1,500 people on 2017.
The Junta wants Madrid to negotiate a deal with Rabat to return underage migrants to Morocco. There are around 7,000 minors currently under the care of Spain’s regional governments and two thirds of that number are from Morocco.
Andalusia is looking to the central government to assist the area by sending 2,500 migrant minors to centres in other areas of Spain. Whilst all regional authorities are pushing Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to find a diplomatic solution with Rabat to send some of the underage migrants back.
In the end it is Spanish prosecutors who decide on each case, and the concern has always been the type of environment these children would be going back to. However, one of the prosecutors has said that if the Moroccan authorities could confirm that the youngsters would return to safe, comfortable conditions, then he could see no hindrance to the move.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of this idea. Save the Children, for example, have made their concerns clear. They believe that many of the migrant children were living on the streets in Morocco, with little or no family support. As such they are asking for concrete guarantees that Spain would continue to deal with each case individually, ensuring these vulnerable children will be safe after repatriation.