The Moroccan authorities have foiled some 40,300 illegal emigration attempts since last January to date, said the Wali, director of Migration and Border Control at the Interior ministry, Khalid Zerouali.
This figure represents a 25% increase over the same period in 2018, Zerouali said in an interview with the Spanish paper “El Pais”, published on Monday.
“Our border control has helped to ease migratory pressure, but we should continue to work to strengthen this mechanism,” the Moroccan official told the Spanish daily, on the sidelines of his participation, last week in Madrid, at the thematic meeting on “Cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination in the field of border management”, co-chaired by Morocco and Spain.
“It is true that on the Spanish side we feel that migratory pressure has decreased, but on our side it is constantly increasing,” Zerouali stressed.
In this regard, the paper points out that Morocco has “acquired a new protagonism” that “now places it at the heart of the negotiations in Europe”, noting that the European Union (EU) is called upon to provide more support to the Kingdom for greater collaboration between the two parties.
“Morocco fully assumes its responsibilities on its territorial waters. The debate should focus on the fight against traffickers, as they are the ones who endanger the lives of immigrants,” Zerouali said, noting that “Morocco is under pressure” and the “pressure exerted by the security forces in the north opens new fronts in the south” of the Kingdom.
“Networks have become sophisticated. Now, illegal immigrants are trying to leave Morocco from south Casablanca. There are also attempts to reach the Canary Islands” from the coasts between Agadir and Dahkla, the Moroccan official said.
Some 10,475 immigrants reached the Spanish coast at the end of June, down 27.4% compared to the same period in 2018, according to figures from the Spanish Interior ministry.