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Spain amnesty blamed for encouraging wave of illegal immigrants from Africa

[JURIST] EU Justice and Migration Commissioner Franco Frattini [official profile] has told a Spanish newspaper that Spain contributed to a recent spate of illegal immigration between Africa and Europe by a three-month amnesty program [BBC report] for illegals that it launched in February 2005. Frattini said the country's loose approach to illegal immigration has spurred a four-fold increase in the number of illegal African immigrants attempting the dangerous voyage to the Canary Islands [Peninsula report] in the past year.

Last week, Spain called on fellow EU nations to contribute money to address the problem, a call echoed by Frattini on Friday, though representatives of other EU states have expressed frustration at the lack of a unified EU policy towards immigration, as well as with Spain's failure to consult with them before launching the amnesty program. In May 2005, Spain granted 700,000 work permits to former illegal immigrants [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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