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Migration and Struggle in Greece

Fortress Europe’s “dissuasion effects” – FRONTEX predicts decrease in immigrants numbers

Posted by clandestina on 10 July 2009

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FRONTEX: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION DOWN, -25% EXPECTED IN 2009

(ANSAmed) – ROME – In 2009 illegal immigration into Europe could fall by as much as 20 – 25% compared to 2008, says Gil Arias-Fernandez, deputy executive director of EU border agency, Frontex. Today he presented figures on illegal immigration in Europe regarding the first three months of 2009. Compared to the first quarter of 2008, there has been a 16% drop in the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Europe, and a 20% drop in Italy.
Overall in this period 20,200 illegal immigrants are thought to have arrived in Europe, 2,586 (13%) of whom arrived in Italy. The amount of people entering Europe by land or air has fallen particularly, considering that 8% of illegal immigrants arrived by boat.
The total number of illegal immigrants in the EU in January, February and March 2009 was 90,800 (11,080 in Italy), 16% fewer (12% for Italy) than in the first quarter of 2008. Last year 145 thousand illegal immigrants came to Europe. Italy had the greatest number of immigrants arriving by boat, 37 thousand, or 41% of the total.
In 2009, Frontex is expecting to see trends change. ”The trends of the last few months, along with forecasts,” the deputy director said, ”show that illegal immigration could fall by as much as 20-25%. If sea routes change, it could remain stable at 16% or drop to 10%.”
Arias-Fernandez believes that numbers have fallen due to the economic crisis and the fact that some countries have been repatriating illegal immigrants, as well as the agreements made between Italy and Libya.
Meanwhile, the arrival of illegal immigrants in Sicily and Sardinia has fallen by 54% and 56% respectively. The decrease in the number of arrivals, according to Arias-Fernandez, was also influenced by the agreements made between Italy and Libya.
”From January 1 2009 to July 5,” he affirmed, ”there were 333 illegal arrivals according to our people in the field. For the same period last year there were 776.
As for Sicily, including Lampedusa, the figure passed from last year’s 14,806 to 6,760 this year. From May 15 on, that is from when the agreements became effective, our agents noticed even more of a decrease.
The decrease in this last month and a half may have even reached -70%.” A positive vote therefore for the agreements between Italy and Libya. ”Based on our statistics,” Arias-Fernandez concluded, we are able to say that the agreements have had a positive impact.
On the humanitarian level, fewer human lives have been put at risk, due to fewer departures. But our agency does not have the ability to confirm if the right to request asylum as well as other human rights are being respected 3in Libya.” The arrivals from sea on Italy’s shores from the Mediterranean represent around 5% of the total of illegal migrants, while the other 95% come from the East, often carrying tourist visas (ANSAmed).

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