Spain: Illegal immigration by sea drop in February

MADRID (AP) — Spain's government says that unauthorized immigration by sea has dropped in the last month, falling to 930 people arriving in February compared to over 4,000 in January.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska says while on a visit on Saturday to Spain's northern African enclave of Melilla that "the upward trend of recent months has been broken."

Spain became the leading entry point into Europe for illegal migrants last year, when it received over 57,000 people by sea compared to 21,000 in 2017.

Opposition parties have criticized the Socialist-led government for being soft on illegal migration. After taking a more welcoming position on migrants compared to other European Union nations like Italy, Spain has recently tried to reduce arrivals.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda in April's general elections.