Spanish rescuers have picked up nearly 800 migrants trying the cross the Mediterranean Sea into the European Union over the past two days.
Coast Guard boats pulled people off of dangerously overcrowded vessels from the Straits of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea – two of the closest points between Spain the coast of North Africa.
The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration said more than 18,000 people have reached Spain from North Africa so far this year.
Spain has replaced Italy as the preferred destination for migrants from Africa, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere trying to escape war and poverty for a better life in the European Union.
Italy had been overwhelmed with migrants and under a deal worked out with Libya, has started returning them home instead of processing asylum requests.