A double police error was the trigger, last Tuesday, for the eviction of 197 immigrants from the port of Arguineguín (Gran Canaria) when they had not yet been provided with reception places, as confirmed by various government and police sources.
The Ministry of the Interior has already opened an investigation to determine what happened, while this Wednesday it accelerated the opening of the Temporary Attention Center for Foreigners (CATE) in the military installations of Barranco Seco, on the island, and sent two hundred of without papers. Defense has provided material to house another 200.
The departure of migrants from the port of Arguineguín , southwest of Gran Canaria, caused a political storm with an epicenter in the Interior.
The ministry headed by Fernando Grande-Marlaska opened an investigation to determine what happened. Although this Wednesday this department insisted that these investigations were in an initial phase and the facts had not yet been clarified, other government and police sources pointed to a double police error as the cause of the crisis.
Always according to these sources, the order to evict two hundred immigrants from the port – where this Wednesday there were still more than 2,000 people – was transmitted verbally by a police command to avoid what they considered “a risky situation” caused by the agglomeration of people in the facilities.
Union sources speak of a “possible riot”, which Interior rules out. Police officials have explained to their superiors that they made the decision after trying, unsuccessfully, to contact the Secretary of State for Migration (under the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration) by phone, so that they could provide assistance to immigrants who wanted to evict to ease the situation.
Despite no one answering their calls, they decided to go ahead with the eviction.
Migration sources assured EL PAÍS that they have no record of any calls.
“If there had been, the usual protocol would have been followed,” they point out, referring to the search for healthcare resources. And they add that at that time there were, as evidenced by the fact that, after hearing about the situation created, they managed to relocate the nearly 200 evicted migrants in hotel establishments in the south of the island .
To this alleged first police error, the sources consulted add a second: those responsible for the device did not inform the Interior of their alleged problems in contacting Migrations or the subsequent decision to proceed with the eviction of the 200 migrants.
Ministry sources confirm that this second call should have been made, especially after the problems in contacting Migrations, but that it was never made. Grande-Marlaska advanced that, after the investigation, his department will take the “necessary measures” and that “if it is observed that there has been lack of coordination”, it will have “no problem in recognizing it.”
The Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, pointed in the same direction, after assuring Efe that neither he nor his team gave the order to facilitate the departure of immigrants from Arguineguín. “It is evident that there has been a coordination error that we have to solve.
The magnitude of the problem that the Canary Islands are facing is capital . We are talking about growths above 1,100%, with arrivals that already exceed 18,000 people so far this year, “he remarked. “We have to find an exit to the [Arguineguín] dock, which as everyone knows is saturated,” insisted the delegate.
Those first transfers materialized this Wednesday. Interior announced in the afternoon that 200 immigrants who remained in the port of the town of Gran Canaria had been taken to the new camp assigned by Defensa and located in the old Barranco Seco powder magazine, on the outskirts of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
During the day, the general director of the Police, Francisco Pardo, and his number two , Commissioner José Ángel González – who had traveled to the island to attend the inauguration of the new police officer in the region, which was suspended -, supervised the logistical works to equip the place with the necessary services to guarantee the care of the migrants.
For this, Defense has provided 23 modular tents with light, 200 double berths (400 beds), an electric generator and two 2,000-liter cisterns, reports Miguel González .
With this, there are already five facilities that Defense has given to face the migratory crisis on the islands after those of Las Canteras (Tenerife), El Matorral (Fuerteventura), Las Raices (Tenerife) and the dependencies of the Canarias 50 regiment in the Isleta neighborhood in Las Palmas.
The Canary Islands has become in 2020 the main entry point for irregular migration in Spain . The number of people who have arrived by sea throughout the country has risen to 32,427, 45.5% more than the same period in 2019, according to the Interior.
Of this figure, 51.7%, that is, 16,760 migrants, entered through the Canary Islands. The sea route is the most used by irregular immigration this year, with 95.5% of the total.