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Spain to expel illegal African immigrants following border assaults

[JURIST] The Spanish government has announced plans to expel hundreds of illegal African immigrants who have entered the country over the past week in a series of mass rushes [BBC News report] on the country's small border with Morocco in Melilla. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega [Euroresidentes profile] said that illegal immigrants would be returned to Morocco in the coming days under a 1992 agreement with the Moroccan government. Melilla, a tiny Spanish enclave on the northern coast of Africa, has become a focal point for many Africans seeking to enter the EU. In the past week, hundreds of desperate Africans have rushed the border five times, with many of them successfully scaling the razor wire fences and evading security forces. Spain [JURIST news archive] has criticized Morocco for failing to prevent the assaults on the border, but commended an increased security presence during the most recent incident on Wednesday. Previously, many illegal immigrants have successfully made it into Spain because Spanish law did not allow the government to expel them if their home government will not accept them. Also Wednesday, Italy reportedly deported 80 illegal immigrants [AFP report] to Egypt from detention facilities at Lampedusa that have previously been criticized [JURIST report] by EU officials for rights abuses. Melilla Hoy has local coverage [in Spanish] of Spain's deportation plans. AP has more.

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