Monday, February 07, 2005

SPAIN'S AMNESTY for illegal aliens starts today:
Spain's Socialist government offers an amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from today despite concerns it could make it an even more attractive destination for migrants.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government says the amnesty will allow it to manage migration. However, its assurances have done nothing to quell the controversy.

Spain is the main gateway to Europe for illegal immigrants. An estimated 800,000 migrants live in the country illegally, but there is no way to know how many will benefit from the amnesty.

The scale of the problem was underlined on Saturday when Spanish authorities rescued 227 African would-be migrants from a decrepit fishing boat drifting off the Canary Islands.

Jose Manuel Soria, head of the local authority in the island of Gran Canaria, wrote in the conservative ABC newspaper on Sunday that the incident showed the drawing power of the amnesty offer -- even though new arrivals cannot qualify.

As I wrote, some European countries are concerned.