Posted on October 10, 2005

Spanish Amnesty Worsened Immigrant Problem-Germany

Reuters, Oct. 9

BERLIN — A Spanish amnesty for illegal immigrants has drawn more of them to Europe and unilateral policies should be abandoned in favour of joint international solutions, Germany’s Interior Minister said on Sunday.

Europe may be “overwhelmed” by migrants if the economic and social gap between it and impoverished Africa continued to widen rapidly, Interior Minister Otto Schily warned, in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

“The pressure on Europe from migrants will increase so dramatically that we will be totally overwhelmed,” the paper quoted him as saying. “Not even three — or five-deep layers of fencing will prevent it.”

In recent weeks, large groups of African migrants have tried to get into Europe by storming razor wire fences around Spain’s North African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, which are situated on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.


“In the long term immigration and refugee problems cannot be solved with unilateral action, but only with European and international cooperation,” he added.

In February, Spain introduced a three-month amnesty for illegal immigrants as part of a drive to lift them out of the shadow economy, give them rights and make them pay taxes.

Around 700,000 people took advantage of the scheme, which the government said helped better regulate immigration in a country that is a main gateway into the European Union from Africa and Latin America.