Half of Spaniards believe that immigrants have good influence on the country

Immigration has increased its role in Spain in recent years, with very few foreigners living in the country until the 1970s and the arrival of democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco.

In recent years, a growing number of migrants from North Africa and Eastern Europe has raised concern among some Spaniards that the country does not have room for the newcomers.

In 2005, authorities responded to a steady flow of sub-Saharan Africans crossing from Morocco into two Spanish enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, by turning the frontier there into a heavily-patrolled, razor-wire scar.

Boatloads of destitute Africans arrive at Spain's Canary Islands on rickety fishing boats nearly every day, and hundreds have died attempting the journey. European countries pledged in late May to send planes and patrol boats to help stem the flow of immigrants, the AP reports.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said that immigrants have created problems in their community, with 59 percent saying they have had little effect and only 7 percent saying immigrants have improved their community.

Forty percent of Spaniards said they believed that immigrants were more likely to be involved in crime, with 52 percent saying there was not much difference between natives and immigrants.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team