The opening of the six macro-centers in the Canary Islands where the 7,000 immigrants staying in hotels must move, scheduled for the end of 2020, will be further delayed. Despite the efforts against the clock, the difficulties associated with the huge deployment forced a new deadline to be set, which expired this Friday. The rains, bureaucracy and urban obstacles have ended up postponing its inauguration.
The Secretary of State for Migration points out that the delay is due to “reasons beyond the control” of its department and has not wanted to set a new date, although it trusts that it will be soon. Sources familiar with the development of the project estimate that some centers may still take weeks to open.
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Currently there are only two camps in operation, which house about 550 people in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The first is a school located in a humble neighborhood, El Lasso, where tents have been set up in the courtyard and beds in the classrooms. The second, which began to be occupied a week ago, is a military barracks where the ships that were in ruins inside were demolished and huge esplanades were built to set up tents that can accommodate more than 1,300 people. The opening of the two spaces has made it possible to empty a reception center, a hotel and begin to vacate a second tourist complex.
The centers that have faced the most difficulties are precisely those with the greatest reception capacity. The Las Canteras and Las Raices barracks in Tenerife can hold 1,500 and 2,400 people respectively, but the opening date is still uncertain. The works first faced the rejection of the San Cristóbal de La Laguna City Council, which paralyzed the work due to urban planning issues, obstacles that forced the Government to change the Land Law in order to continue with the installation. The heavy rains have also slowed down the works on several occasions as they are sandy soils that easily puddle. Furthermore, in the specific case of Las Canteras, which will be managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there are still several bureaucratic procedures to be resolved before opening the center.
The inauguration of the El Matorral center, in Fuerteventura, and a warehouse loaned by Bankia, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which still has to be adapted to be habitable, is also pending.
The delays in the eviction of the hotels, opened for a temporary reception in September, are causing unease in the mayors of Mogán and San Bartolomé de Tirajana, the tourist municipalities with more places for immigrants, some of their neighbors and part of the local business community . Some specific incidents in the complexes and their surroundings have flooded social networks and unleashed xenophobia and a social alarm that, although according to the Police is not justified, worries the authorities. While, on the one hand, the anti-riot police of the Civil Guard and the Police have been deployed in the area to give a greater sense of security, on the other, both bodies are working to neutralize the calls for neighborhood patrols that threaten to attack immigrants .