Many illegal immigrants from Africa spend the meagre savings they have on a passage to Gran Canaria. Rather than arriving in the land of milk and honey where accommodation and work are easy to come by (as they have been told), most of them arrive dead, almost dead or don’t arrive at all. They come over in “pateras” which are small boats.
The crossing can take weeks (depending on the wind and whether they even stay on course) and food and water runs out long before then. There is also no shelter from the weather.
There is a truly heartrending story on here: http://sugiero.blogspot.com/2006/03/45-african-immigrants-died-last-night_07.html and also on here: http://www.isle-of-gran-canaria.com/weblog/worse-than-immigration/.
More illegal immigrants come over than people are generally aware of. This is especially true, since most of them probably sink rather than ever arrive. The immigrants, if caught, throw their identifying documents over the side. If they don’t have a passport, the authorities don’t know which country to return them too. Some immigrants stay in Gran Canaria and others venture further north, perhaps to Spain, France or the UK.
It is a shocking situation that this happens so much here but there really is no answer except to save those we can and spread awareness of the problem.