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Spain Says 31,000 Migrants Reached Canary Islands in 2006

Spanish authorities say about 31,000 illegal African migrants have reached Spain's Canary Islands this year.

Officials Wednesday said the number of arrivals in 2006 nearly equaled the number from the previous four years combined.

Migrants continue to come despite European Union sea and air patrols off the West African coast designed to stop them.

Spanish officials say police intercepted at least 140 would-be immigrants in boats near the islands today.

Most of the Africans travel in makeshift vessels that leave from the west coasts of Senegal or Mauritania. Hundreds have died trying to make the arduous journey.

The migrants are hoping to start new jobs and new lives in Europe, away from the poverty of their home countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.