The number of illegal immigrants to Spain is expected to increase in 2018, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) announced yesterday.
Spain recently allocated two helicopters, two marine ships and hundreds of soldiers to monitor its territorial waters and carry out search and rescue operations. It also called for the European Union's help.
In 2017, the number of illegal immigrants from Algeria, Morocco and other African countries to Spain amounted to 22,900 immigrants.
According to the International Organization of Migrants (IOM), some 1,916 refugees from the so-called "Harragas" have illegally sought Spain.
From January to 21 December, 2017, over 21,468 people reached Spanish waters or coasts risking their lives in fragile boats after paying smugglers, almost three times more than the 6,046 figure that was recorded last year.
In response, Spain has called on the EU countries to support the Spanish authorities, not only through funds but to logistically help in the civil guards, aircraft and ships in the searhing and rescuing activities.
A Frontex spokesman recently sad that some €7 million have been allocated by the EU authorities to fund the large number of illegal immigrants who are expected to arrive to the European countries this year.