As Spain continues its fight against irregular migration, migrants continue to cross the borders of Ceuta and Melilla.
Rabat – In 2018, almost all of the 3,344 unaccompanied minors from the MENA region who entered the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in northern Morocco were Moroccan.
Among the minors who arrived in Ceuta last year, 3,302 were boys and 42 were girls who came from the neighboring cities of Tetouan and Tangier, reported Spanish media outlet Europa Press on Sunday, based on official data from Spanish authorities.
Last week alone, 295 Moroccan teenage migrants arrived in Ceuta and were taken to a local juvenile detention center.
The number of unaccompanied and underage migrants from MENA crossing to the Ceuta border increased by over 400 percent compared to in 2017 when 802 arrived in the autonomous city.
A Spanish government official told Europa Press that overcrowdedness in the juvenile center prevents professionals from properly caring for the minors and attending to all their needs.
The mayor-president of Ceuta, Juan Vivas, told the same source that the influx of migrants is not the fault of Spanish Civil Guards or the national police not doing their job but rather the lack of “technological equipment” and border infrastructure to facilitate the fight against irregular migration.
Vivas suggested that both Morocco and Spain should reach a mutual agreement to devise a family reunification plan for the teenage migrants.
In December, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced his country’s interest in strengthening and modernizing the Ceuta and Melilla borders with Morocco to combat irregular migration, according to Spanish news agency EFE.
The Spanish government reportedly approved a €40 million budget for the communities and the Spanish enclaves. Part of the budget will be allocated to care for the unaccompanied foreign minors received in 2018.