African Immigration to Europe

Posted on January 25, 2009 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS

Tens of thousands of Africans - men, women and children fleeing their homeland - attempt to make the perilous trip from their home countries to Europe every year, seeking refuge, asylum and economic opportunity. Some travel thousands of miles overland, being handed from smuggler to smuggler, ending up at one of many ports in northern Africa, to be packed into makeshift boats and make treacherous sea crossings to European soil, to places like Spain's Canary Islands and tiny Malta where they hope to either sneak in unnoticed, or, if intercepted, be allowed to stay. Many do not survive the journey. Levels of illegal immigration to the Canary Islands alone dropped to 13,424 last year, down from a peak of nearly 32,000 in 2006. Authorities in southern European nations are still struggling however, to patrol for, care for, to process and repatriate this continuing flow of immigrants.


A man looks around after his fishing boat arrived ashore on the San Blas beach on Spain's Canary Island of Tenerife, October 15, 2008. Some 69 would-be immigrants arrived on the beach aboard a fishing boat on their way to European soil from Africa, according to local authorities. (REUTERS/Santiago Ferrero)