“The specific question is whether we can say that there is a new illegal immigration route or not, that is was what was at stake, and what I can say about it is that the existence of that route is under investigation and what we have to do is look for it have the possible answers ”, said Mariana Vieira da Silva to the deputies in a parliamentary debate on sectoral policy, during which she also said that, in the European context, the arrival of seven boats to the Algarve coast since December 2019“ is not a problem of great meaning ”.

The Minister of State and the Presidency responded to the centrist deputy Telmo Correia, who insisted on a question that had already been raised by the PSD about the possible existence of this route, recalling statements by the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, who classified the “ridiculous” scenario of an illegal route towards the Algarve.

In 2020, 97 migrants from Morocco were intercepted in the Algarve.

"It has been proven that this route exists or may exist, it has been proved that it is relevant," said Telmo Correia, who also questioned Mariana Vieira da Silva about cooperation agreements with other countries to provide legal framework for migratory flows, stressing that "the answer to illegal immigration is legal immigration”.

Also the PCP, by the deputy Alma Rivera, questioned the minister about the integration of migrants and the reception policy, defending that “there are imperatives that the Portuguese State cannot avoid” and that these citizens cannot be welcomed to be kept later in an illegal situation.

The minister responded with the temporary legalization measures for immigrants with an ongoing regularization process adopted at the beginning of the pandemic to guarantee social security and access to health responses, adding that “there is a structural response that goes beyond the pandemic”.