03:54 GMT +324 February 2019
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    Migrants arrive at the first registration point for asylum seekers in Erding near Munich, southern Germany, on November 15, 2016

    Germany Mulls Tough Response to Spain’s Surge in Illegal Immigration

    © AFP 2018 / Christof Stache
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    Spain has become the main route into Europe for illegal immigrants following the shut down of Italian and Balkan routes.

    Berlin is considering imposing new border control measures with Switzerland and France in order to counteract a recent surge of illegal immigrants arriving on the Spanish coast, according to Helmut Teichmann, the state secretary responsible for migration at the federal interior ministry.

    According to Teichmann, German authorities are on alert over a recent surge in illegal immigration arriving from North Africa and Middle East to Spain, after Italy closed its port for boats carrying refugees.

    "We fear that many migrants could make their way to France, the Benelux countries and Germany," Teichmann said in an interview for Bild am Sonntag. Teichmann reportedly added that Germany is ready to assist Spain to handle the wave of immigration.

    Some 21,000 migrants entered Spain this year, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM) statistics.

    "As remarkable as Spain's rise in irregular migration activity has been through 2018, even more important is its recent surge," the IOM said last week. "Over the year's first five months, a total of 8,150 men, women and children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa — an average of 54 per day. In the 55 days since May 31, a total of 12,842 have arrived — or just over 230 migrants per day."

    The increase in migration to Spain can be connected to a period of warmer weather in Mediterranean regions and with Italy closing its shores.

    In 2015, Germany allowed entry to nearly 900,000 illegal immigrants, following Chancellor Merkel's open-door policy. This year, Berlin has sought to avoid a repeat of the migration crisis. In order to tackle illegal migration, the German interior ministry established ‘transfer centers' and ‘Anker centers' to hold and process migrants entered the country illegally.

    Migrants transported to transfer centers are only allowed to move within the center, but retain the right to be returned to their country of origin at any time.

    According to Werner Schiffauer, chairman of the Council for Migration, "Anker centers act as a deterrent, that's clear. It's about sending a signal to refugees that they are not entirely welcome here."


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    border control, illegal immigrants, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Helmut Teichmann, Italy, Germany, Spain
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