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Migration Minister Slams ‘xenophobic’ Backlash as Spain Transfers Migrants From Canary Islands to Peninsula

Spain’s migration minister slammed the “xenophobic” backlash Thursday for the government’s ongoing transfer of thousands of migrants from the Canary Islands to Peninsular Spain. 

More than 16,000 migrants have crossed the sea since July 1 from northwestern Africa to the Spanish Canary Islands — significantly more than in the whole of 2022.

With the islands’ services overwhelmed, Madrid is organizing the transfer of 11,000 migrants to the rest of Spain, according to the El Pais newspaper. The migrants will stay in military barracks, hostels, hotels and other centers.

Salvador Escudero, Popular Party councilor in the Malaga city of Torrox, complained Wednesday that 240 migrants had already been given free shelter in a local hotel.

“We don’t know what they’ll do. We don’t know if they’ll take your wallet, rob a car, or if they’re going to try something else because they have nothing,” he told a local broadcaster. “If they don’t put a tag on them like they do for animals, I don’t know how much they’ll be able to control these creatures.”

Escudero expressed fear that migrants could spread diseases like typhus in Malaga.

“It’s so hard to digest, so detestable, that I’m speechless,” Acting Migration Minister Jose Luis Escriva told the reporters regarding the comments.

While the city of Torrox also released a statement rebuking Escudero’s comments, he is not the only right-wing Spanish politician to speak in similar terms.

Far-right Vox Vice President of Castille and Leon, Juan García-Gallardo, traveled to a hotel Wednesday that is hosting 183 migrants in his region.

He said in a video posted to X, that young male migrants were causing women and the town to feel endangered. García-Gallardo also accused the central government of fueling an “invasion” of migrants.

Meanwhile, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the Popular Party president of the region of Madrid, slammed the government for sending “more than 100 migrants overnight” and “without any communication.”

“They are sending thousands of migrants to regional governments amid maximum fear for national security,” she said during a speech Thursday.

After the conflict in Israel broke out earlier this month, Spain reinforced its level four terror alert on a scale of five.

Escriva accused the Popular Party of “xenophobia” and “political opportunism” and said Spain is managing the crisis with “remarkable soundness.”

He added that Spain took in 200,000 refugees from Ukraine after the war erupted without major issues.

Source: AA