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Spain Immigration Detention

As a key EU border country, Spain has played an important role confronting migratory flows into the region. It has worked with Frontex to interdict smuggling vessels off the coast of West Africa, collaborated with Morocco to shore up border controls, and paid for a detention centre in Mauritania. Since the early 1990s, the country has also boosted its internal detention estate, the operations of which have come under intense scrutiny because of the legal uncertainty confronting detainees and the derelict state of many facilities. Although the country has a reputation for being more welcoming of migrants than many of its European neighbours, Spain’s severe economic crisis has led to growing xenophobia. After a recent visit to the country, the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism said: “The economic crisis should not become the reason for rolling back progress in the fight against racism and xenophobia. There is already an on-going dynamic that the government should seriously take into consideration in order to avoid a deterioration of the situation with regard to racism.”

Spain Quick Facts

  • Immigration detainees:
    9,020
    Persons expelled :
    18,865
    International migrants:
    6,466,600
    New asylum applications :
    2,579