News, August 2004

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While illegals risk all, government plans changes to immigration rules

28 August. After a summer of daily news about detention of illegals attempting to cross the Straits, or bodies washed up on the beaches, the government is about to announce some changes in the rules about recognition of the 'paperless people' already here.

Daily news of deaths and detentions of illegal immigrants on the Straits of Gibraltar, further along the coast of andalusia and on the beaches of the Canary islands is part of the regular news bulletin in Spain. One one occasion over 500 attempted to break through the fence surrounding the Spanish enclave of melilla on the North African coast, while a similar or larger number were detained in Sierra Leone aboard a ship which was specially prepared to sink itself off the Canary coast.

Meanwhile, more and more illegal, 'paperless' people are appearing in Spain from Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia, many working illegally and with no posibility to gain their papers except by presenting themselves in the Spanish Consulate in their home country and joining the queue.

The new government has been reexamining the immigration rules and the actual state of things over the summer. Many ideas have been sugested to change things. Now it is on the verge of a decision which may be one of the first issues to be dealt with as deputies return to the Cortes after the summer break.