The number of expulsions and forced repatriations of undocumented migrants in Spain has risen significantly in 2018 compared to the previous five years.
A total of 3,596 migrants were expelled from hosting centers for foreigners in Spain between January and October 2018, according to data provided by the police general directorate. That's an increase of 38.9 percent compared to the same period in 2017. Over the entire course of 2017, 3,483 migrants were deported from the centers, compared to 2,871 in 2016, 2,205 in 2015 and 3,286 in 2014.
The objective of the hosting centers, which are not detention facilities, is to repatriate undocumented migrants back to their home countries in less than two months. They are otherwise free to go - although they do not receive any documents, like a residency permit, if they migrated irregularly.
54,963 migrants repatriated between 2013 and 2017
Between 2013 and 2017, Spain repatriated a reported 54,963 migrants - that's 30 people per day on average, according to data provided by the interior ministry. The numbers were provided in response to a parliamentary query by Unidos Podemos Senator Maribel Moras.
According to newspaper El Pais, there was a progressive decrease in the number of expulsions between 2013 and 2016: 13,985 in 2013; 11,817 in 2014; 10,594 in 2015; 9,241 in 2016. However, a slight increase was recorded in 2017, when 9,326 people were expelled.
Many Moroccans and Algerians sent back
Some 37 percent of forced repatriations concerned citizens of Morocco and Algeria, countries that have signed bilateral readmission agreements with Spain. Officials said it was not easy to repatriate migrants from Gambia and the Ivory Coast, who represented 24 percent of the 8,237 foreigners registered at hosting facilities. Only six were deported that year, according to data provided by the interior ministry.