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Ceuta residents live in harmony with migrants despite fears of escalating immigration

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Ceuta residents live in harmony with migrants despite fears of escalating immigration

Ceuta residents live in harmony with migrants despite fears of escalating immigration
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Alastair McCready
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Residents of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, located on the very tip of northern Africa, found themselves at the centre of escalating immigration anxiety after violent border assaults in July and August.

But behind sensational media headlines involving the rise in immigration, Ceuta looks like any normal Spanish town.

With half of its population identifying as Muslim, Ceuta prides itself on integration and "convivencia" — the word for different religions living together peacefully.

Alastair McCready
Ceuta's town centreAlastair McCready

Occasional police checkpoints are the only indication that the town is caught in the middle of Europe’s migration issue.

Ceuta’s temporary immigration centre, Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (CETI) is not thought of as a detention centre because its residents are free to come and go as they please.

Many of them work informally in Ceuta’s industrial district and go back to CETI at the end of a day’s work.

And while CETI might cover all of their essential needs, most migrants dream of establishing a decent life in Ceuta before relocating to the Spanish mainland or further afield.