Rescued migrants arrive ashore at the port of Cadiz in southern Spain. Credit: EPA/A.CARRASCO RAGEL
Rescued migrants arrive ashore at the port of Cadiz in southern Spain. Credit: EPA/A.CARRASCO RAGEL

Spain is planning to expel 9,000 irregular migrants in 2019, nearly double the number of those it expelled last year.

The Spanish government plans to expel 9,000 irregular migrants in 2019. That's nearly double the number of last year, according to the country's interior ministry estimate figures in its 2019 budget. 

The government also plans to create new foreigner detention centers (CEI) in Madrid, Malaga, and Algeciras. 

The country's budget was approved on January 11 by the socialist government of Pedro Sanchez and the estimates were cited on Monday by Spanish media. 

Tightening on irregular migration 

Estimates upon which economic resources will be distributed provide for the expulsion of an additional 3,900 foreigners in irregular situations - either already the subject of expulsion orders or those who illegally entered the country - than in 2018, when 5,100 foreigners were expelled.

The number exceeds the estimated 4,000 expulsions provided for in the budget of the conservative government at the time, led by Mariano Rajoy. The number also confirms the tightening on irregular migration that began in recent months under the ministry led by former magistrate Fernando Grande-Marlasca. 

Regarding stay permits, the government plans to issue 2,500 in 2019, the same number as last year. Meanwhile, however, the number of asylum requests and applications for refugee protection are expected to reach 32,000, the same as at the end of 2018 and higher than the 25,000 initially predicted for last year. 

Government programmes for arrivals 

Interior ministry plans on migrant arrivals include regulation and checking the identity of foreign citizens and residents, as well as entrances and stays by refugees or asylum seekers in the country. It also plans to improve police infrastructure for migrants, in particular the network of foreigner detention centers (CEI). It indicated as a priority the construction of new centers in Madrid and in the cities of Malaga and Algeciras in Andalusia, which are the main arrival points for irregular migrants. 

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who heads the socialist minority government, said he is sure the budget will be approved in parliament in April. He clarified that his government "will speak with all parliamentary groups" and not only those of the majority - with Podemos and pro-independence Catalan and Basque parties - who came together in June for the no-confidence vote on Rajoy.

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