Moroccans found off Algarve coast illegal immigrants

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 29-01-2020 17:45:00 · 0 Comments

The Mayor of Olhão on Wednesday considered that the Portuguese authorities should not grant refugee and international protection status to illegal immigrants from Morocco like the 11 currently intercepted on a boat in the Algarve.

The case of these 11 illegal immigrants, who were intercepted by the Maritime Police off the island of Armona, near Olhão, is the second in the space of about two months in the Algarve.

António Miguel Pina stressed that these cases are of "illegal immigration" and the occupants of the vessel intercepted today are "as far as we know, from the same city" where the nine who arrived on a beach in Monte Gordo, in the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António, in December.

"The country needs workers, it's possible to fit these people in with those who need labor, in the same way that they sometimes look for labor in Morocco, Thailand or India, but fit them in that way," he proposed.

"Giving them the status of refugees" would be "exaggerated," because the situation in Morocco is not the same as in countries that are in conflict, such as Libya or Syria.

"Otherwise, everyone who tried to enter, from poorer countries, could have refugee status. And the Kingdom of Morocco is a developing country and even has TGV, which we do not have here. There are people who still live in difficult economic situations, but we're not talking about refugees, because refugees are those who are fleeing life situations from political pressures, from war, and it is not the same case," he said.

Asked if he fears the opening of a new maritime immigration route from Africa to the Algarve, António Miguel Pina replied that the two cases registered in the Algarve "come from the same city, the first were successful, and if the second were also successful, we could be facing such a situation".


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