Around 6,000 immigrants enter Spanish enclave from Morocco

The Spanish enclave of Ceuta is having to deal with an influx of immigrants after an estimated 6,000 people have entered the territory from Morocco, according to the central government’s delegation in the city.

The immigrants swam or walked around the frontier that stretches into the water between the enclave and Morocco from Monday to the early hours of Tuesday.

Around 1,500 of them are thought to be minors, according to the Spanish government delegation in Ceuta, which confirmed that at least one person has died in attempting to pass around the breakwater.

The massive influx of migrants has overrun the temporary center for immigrants in the enclave, which has a total area of 18 square kilometers and a population of around 85,000, local media reported.

Those immigrants range from single males to mothers carrying their babies, and the Spanish media reported that some complete families made the crossing with inflatable dinghies.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that 150 members of the National Police Force and 50 Civil Guards would be sent to strengthen the police presence in Ceuta and the military could also be called upon.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted that his priority is “to return normality to Ceuta. Its citizens should know that they have the full support of the Spanish government and the maximum conviction to care for its security and defend its integrity as a part of this country.”

The migrants made their crossing after the usually heavy presence of Moroccan security forces on the beaches bordering Ceuta was relaxed, according to media reports.

Ceuta and nearby Melilla have long been an entry point for immigrants looking to enter Spain and Europe.