After the release of immigration detainees from detention centres (Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros or CIEs), there has been considerable discussion on the future of the country’s detention policies. The Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDH) reports that “since CIEs have been closed and detainees released, no catastrophe has ensued” and the organisation urged the country not to re-open the centres. In addition, Spanish police have conceded that it will be difficult to re-detain people released from immigration detention after the Covid-19 crisis recedes (see 26 May Spain update on this platform).
Lavanguardia has reported since the closure of CIEs in Spain, departure points of boats carrying migrants have been changed as Morocco was maintaining strict confinement of its population, making it hard for boats to leave. Boats are currently leaving from Algeria and arriving in Almeria, Murcia, and Baleares. While at the end of 2018, the Spanish ombudsman reported that of the 7,855 people detained in Spain’s CIE, 2,801 were Moroccan nationals and 2,513 were Algerian nationals, at present, Algerian nationals are the largest population arriving by boat to Spain. Also, since CIEs have been shut, in May 2020 the number of ships arriving at the Spanish coast has doubled compared to May 2019.
On 2 July, 11 migrants arrived in Ibiza on a small boat. Under new protocols, they were all tested for Covid-19, and none of them tested positive for the disease. All of those on board were Algerian nationals, including one minor. Ten were transferred to Madrid where they will be released and placed under the supervision of the Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR), an NGO providing support to refugees. According to Nouidiari, an expulsion proceeding had been opened for the intercepted migrants that will likely be completed once Algeriàs borders re-open.
- A. S. Ruiz, “La Llegada de Más Simpapeles Coincide con los Centros de Internamiento Cerrados,” Lavanguardia, 3 June 2020, https://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20200603/481582372581/inmigrantes-pateras-espana-pandemia.html
- E. Saiz, “Los Centros de Extranjeros se han Vaciado por la Pandemia y no ha Habido una Hecatombe,” El Pais, 18 June 2020, https://elpais.com/espana/2020-06-18/los-centros-de-extranjeros-se-han-vaciado-por-la-pandemia-y-no-ha-habido-una-hecatombe.html
- N. Cardenas, “Los Migrantes Llegados en Patera a Ibiza, Negativos en Covid-19, Serán Trasladados a Madrid, Excepto el Unico Menor de Edad,” Noudiari, 2 July 2020, https://www.noudiari.es/2020/06/los-migrantes-llegados-en-patera-a-ibiza-negativos-en-covid-19-seran-trasladados-a-madrid-excepto-el-unico-menor-de-edad/
- P. O. Prieto de los Mozos, “Los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros ante la Situación del Covid-19,” Otrosi, 8 April 2020, https://www.otrosi.net/analisis/los-centros-internamiento-extranjeros-ante-la-situacion-del-covid-19
- 65 Algerian Migrants Arriving at the port of Motril in Granada, (Alba Feixas, EFE, “La Llegada de Más Simpapeles Coincide con los Centros de Internamiento Cerrados,” Lavanguardia, 3 June 2020, https://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20200603/481582372581/inmigrantes-pateras-espana-pandemia.html)