Die New York Times kündigt nach dem Trump-Mexiko-Deal eine Zunahme der Migration aus Zentralamerika nach Europa an, insbesondere nach Spanien und Italien. Da – abgesehen von Belgien – die meisten EU-Staaten Verfolgung durch Bandenkriminalität nicht als Asylgrund anerkennen, werden die meisten als Visa-Overstayers in Europa bleiben.

The number seeking asylum in Europe has increased nearly 4,000 percent in the last decade, according to official figures, and the rate of arrivals is accelerating. Nearly 7,800 applied for asylum in Europe last year, up from 4,835 in 2017.

The distance may be greater, but many have found that the journey to Europe is safer and much cheaper than paying smugglers to get through Mexico to the United States. […]

Suyapa Portillo, an associate professor at Pitzer College who has studied Central American migration, said that the bar for entering Europe was lower because a visa is not required for entry, as it is for the United States.

Spain is the first choice for many Central Americans because of the shared language, established networks of friends and family and opportunities to work in the informal economy. […]

An estimated 8,000 asylum cases from Central America are pending in Spain, and the backlog is not shrinking appreciably. Eurostat said the country granted asylum to fewer than 15 Hondurans or Salvadorans in all of 2018, and a total of 30 in the first quarter in 2019.

The Spanish Asylum and Refugee Office said most of the asylum applications from Central Americans were based on the threat of gang violence — an entrenched problem in many countries in the region, and one often cited by asylum seekers.

But Spain rarely recognizes gang violence as a reason for granting asylum. A spokeswoman for the asylum and refugee office said that many claims of persecution did not justify international protection. In many cases, she added, there was effective protection from the national authorities of origin. That view has generally been supported in Spanish courts.

Those who are denied asylum can appeal the decision, extending their legal stay in Spain.

Belgium has proved to be an increasingly attractive destination for Central American migrants. It is now the third most popular European country for Salvadorans seeking refuge, after Spain and Italy. The difference is still big — last year, 2,311 Salvadorans applied for asylum to Spain, while 288 applied to Belgium — but the numbers fleeing to Belgium are growing; 244 have applied in the first four months of this year. The country received 25 Central American asylum seekers in 2014 and none 10 years ago.

Unlike Spain, Belgium recognizes gang violence as a reason for granting refuge. It approved 80 asylum seekers’ cases in this first quarter of the year, Eurostat said.

Most Central Americans heading for Europe, however, do not apply for asylum protection, instead overstaying their tourist visas — generally in Spain or Italy. There are no official figures on how many immigrate in this way, but some estimates say the number is many thousands higher than those applying through official routes.

Officials watch the asylum requests closely, as an increase in applications from one region can delay those from others.

“For now, Central America is not a region of particular concern, but the increasing number of asylum seekers from the region has been flagged,” said Anis Cassar, a spokesman for the European Asylum Support Office, an agency of the European Union. “It’s on the radar.”

NYT | 09.06.2019

„For Central Americans, Fleeing to Europe May Beat Trying to Reach U.S.“