The Deputy President of Spain’s Socialist Government, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, has proposed that political parties show a united front on the country’s immigration problem. The fast-growing African influx has made immigration one of Spain’s hottest political issues and the government has promised to expel all illegal migrants. Senior Socialist Party official Jose Blanco says only those who can work legally and comply with government legislation are welcome. Up until now, Spain has repatriated only a small portion of more than 20,000 Africans who arrived in the Canaries this year because it could not verify their nationalities.
The call for political unity on immigration comes as the head of the opposition party, Mariono Rajoy, condemned the government for “ineffective” handling of the issue. A team of police and diplomats from Senegal are in the Canary Islands to identify countrymen after 118 exhausted Africans arrived illegally by boat on Sunday. They were rescued by Spain’s Coastguard after travelling the perilous 1,000 miles from central Africa in an open wooden boat with no seats.