The majority of young Moroccan men who pitched up in rickety fishing boats on the coast of the Algarve recently (click here and here), requesting asylum, have already gone AWOL.
Authorities admit that 14 of the 19 – all with rather dubious stories of how they got here – are in ‘parts unknown’.
They knew their applications for asylum were being denied – though the possibility of being given residencies for humanitarian reasons was still under consideration (click here).
Says António Nunes, president of OSCOT (the Observatory on Security, Organised Crime and Terrorism), there are lessons to be learned here.
“First, decisions have to be made much more quickly. Second, in these kinds of cases, while people await a response to their requests, they should be kept under vigilance (as happens at the airport) and not left free to come and go, as has been the case”.
Says Rádio Renascença, Nunes believes this is the only way to control Europe’s frontiers.
“What happens if one of them was part of a jihadist cell?” He queried, squarely facing the elephant-in-the-room. “It’s a risk we cannot take, and Portugal is now being seen in a very bad light by European partners because we were responsible for these people…”
To say the young men’s flight is a new experience for authorities, would be to forget dozens of similar ‘disappearances’ (click here and here).
As security analyst Felipe Pathé Duarte explains Portugal is seen not as a destination for migrants, but a point of entry – an easy door to push through.
“Although it has been an important part of the European ideal, Schengen has been one of the first victims of the migrant crisis”, he concluded.