As more illegal immigrants arrive in the Canary Islands, local authorities are warning that the Spanish territory is full to breaking point. Reception centres are beyond full capacity, and amid the overcrowded conditions tension is mounting . “There are just five of us to guard nearly 1600 people in the Mattoral holding centre,” said an officer.
About 22,000 illegal immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands between January and July. Similar pressures have also been building up on the Italian island of Lampedusa where over 10,000 have come ashore. 400 arrived during one night this week. Politicians are voicing frustration. Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said illegal immigrants were undermining the country’s social environment.