Regarding the deployment of reception resources in recent weeks, Hana Jalloul stated: ” The Government of Spain responds. And no, it does not do so spontaneously or [in an] improvised way. There is an emergency plan in place since we arrived in this Administration. We set up our own migration centre in Tenerife, and we are working on two other self-managed centres on different islands in the Canary Islands, [for] which we have been searching [for sites] and installing for several months”. The Secretary of State for Migration pointed out that the archipelago has never deployed its own resources like this, despite the fact that the islands have experienced episodes of migratory pressure over the last three decades.”I have visited the Canary Islands twice, the first time, two weeks after arriving at this Secretariat of State and, at the beginning of August, I attended, together with the Ministers Escrivá and Darias, a telematic meeting with the Canary Islands president, Ángel Víctor Torres, focused in the migratory phenomenon”, explained Hana Jalloul, who recalled that the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration still has a visit to the islands on his agenda. “This visit has never been canceled and I want to emphasise that the minister makes a personal and exhaustive follow-up of these advances in reception matters”.
In the opening session of the forum, in addition to the Secretary of State for Migration, were the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Minister for Social Rights, Equality, Diversity and Youth, Noemí Santana Perera, and the president of The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Juan Fernando López Aguilar. Víctor Torres explained the current situation that the Canary Islands are experiencing with regard to exposure to irregular migrant arrivals, and urged action in a coordinated manner to provide a quick and effective response and a plan to transfer migrants to more appropriate facilities.
Hana Jalloul restated the Government of Spain’s commitment to managing the flows of irregular immigration that arrive on the Canary Islands. “The emergency reception sites that are currently being used in the Canary Islands did not exist in October 2019. Various reception resources have been sought and conditioned throughout 2020”, explained the Secretary of State, who recalled that in The Canary Islands, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration has created 700 spaces in just the last two weeks to respond effectively to the arrivals to which the islands are exposed. “The Government of Spain responds and adapts to the flow of arrivals and the needs arising from Covid-19. At the end of 2019 there were no more than 100 reception places on the islands and today we have more than 1,700. She made clear that they would begin to transfer migrants as soon as physically possible.
“I want to call for calm and responsibility. The Canary Islands have proven to be a people of solidarity, and it deeply saddens me to see how some minorities, for partisan purposes, fill social networks with hoaxes and false images that only fuel the hatred of migrants, “said Hana Jalloul. “These people do not represent the Canarian people, and we are very aware of this.”
During her speech, the Secretary of State for Migration reiterated her sincere gratitude to the Canarian people for their attitude of solidarity in the face of the complexity of the situation, and stated that the Canary Islands have shown themselves to be capable of turning challenges into opportunities. “Proof of this is the way in which your society has turned this situation around. In recent weeks we have welcomed people who arrived after [enduring] crossings long and hard, people who were only looking for a friendly land on the other side. By temporarily deploying hotel rooms we have contributed to activating a sector hit by the COVID-19 crisis “. The Secretary of State pointed out that the hotels deployed for temporary reception of migrants were closed.
“I want to underline the role played by all the ministries involved in immigration matters, as well as the work of the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana,” she concluded.