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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

27 immigrants pulled to safety after navigating Strait of Gibraltar in toy dinghies

Fleeing oppression in North Africa, the 27 migrants that set sail from Morocco on four inflatable dinghies have all safely reached the shores of Spain. Coast Guard vessels from southern Spain and Morocco rescued the 27 migrants on four inflatable dinghies in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Thousands of suspected illegal immigrants from Africa risk their lives trying to reach Europe on small, flimsy boats every year.

Thousands of suspected illegal immigrants from Africa risk their lives trying to reach Europe on small, flimsy boats every year.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Morocco, Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, refugees, North Africa


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The African immigrants gladly bid adieu to their to their inflatable dinghies for the reassuring sturdiness of the a Coast Guard boat.

Officials said some of the migrants trying to reach Spain from Morocco jumped into the sea when the two countries' rescue vessels approached them Monday. The refugees were desperate to be picked up by the Spanish boats that would take them to Europe, instead of back to their North African homeland.

Thousands of suspected illegal immigrants from Africa risk their lives trying to reach Europe on small, flimsy boats every year. Authorities say their vessels took 19 sub-Saharan men and two women to the port of Cadiz in southern Spain. Some suffered from hypothermia.

Whether they will find a new home on this side of the Mediterranean is not known. Six other refugees were picked up by Moroccan rescuers and taken to Tangier.

It's believed that the men are all from sub-Saharan Africa and were on the final stages of an epic journey which saw them cross the desert on their way to the Moroccan coast.
 
The Strait of Gibraltar separates Spain and Morocco by a mere nine miles. A ferry ride between the two continents takes roughly 35 minutes.

Due to its location, it is one of the key smuggling routes for illegal immigrants crossing into Europe.
"Like the U.S., European countries once known for their commitment to openness have convulsed in a wave of economic anxiety, political frustration and fear of a darker Europe," columnist Michelle Chen writes. "And in both America and Europe, migration is driven by the destructive ripple effects of policies in the North. Migration out of Mexico is in part a byproduct of predatory "free trade" policies, for instance.

"Europe and NATO's actions in North Africa and the Middle East-not only the ongoing bombing of Libya but the longstanding support for pet dictatorships -- paved the way for the current refugee crisis.

"For U.S. observers, Europe today is an object lesson in how even incremental progress toward rational border policies quickly unravel when racist fears pervade domestic politics. The only people who seem to understand both sides of the dilemma are the refugees: they have no choice but to take the sweetness and the pain of revolution in equal parts as they push their way to the border," Chen adds.

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