As Italy faces a continued drastic rise in illegal immigrants arriving via boat, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has responded to the crisis by declaring a nationwide state of emergency. Experts, however, are warning that if the current trend continues, Italy could see as many as 50,000 new arrivals per month over the summer.
The state of emergency, which is currently set to last 6 months, is intended to make additional resources and money available to deal with the influx of migrants. Some 2,000 people landed on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa over Easter alone.
The emergency declaration will free up €5 million to be sent to the most affected areas of the country and will allow for the construction of additional migrant housing, according to Zerohedge.
More than 31,000 illegal entries by sea have been recorded thus far this year by the Italian Interior Ministry. By this time last year, only 7,900 such registrations had occurred. While Italy struggles to keep up with the current flood of arrivals, fears are rising that warmer weather over the summer will bring unprecedented numbers of migrants to Italy's shores, overwhelming an already struggling government.
In March alone, there were more than 13,000 landings. Add to that figure improving sea conditions over the summer months, and it is estimated that Italy could be facing 2,000 new immigrants arriving a day. It has been estimated by some that if the trend continues, Italy could have an overwhelming 250,000 migrants on its shores by December 31.
Meanwhile, Meloni is struggling to meet campaign promises of reduced illegal immigration. Her office has done little to tackle the recent immigration crisis and now with numbers soaring quickly out of control, the outcome is looking bleak. Meloni has also been seen personally greeting migrants who have been rescued at sea, which has caused many conservatives to question whether or not she has the ability to remedy the situation. Meloni's coalition partner, Matteo Salvini, meanwhile, is calling for her to implement stricter policies similar to the ones he instituted as interior minister in 2019, a time during which illegal migration drastically decreased.
Salvini, who is now Deputy Prime Minister, has made his concerns and discontent known saying that Europe, has been chatting for years, but has never lifted a finger. It's time to demonstrate that there is a union and solidarity is not only the responsibility of Italy, Spain, Greece or Malta, because we are unable to support a thousand arrivals a day economically, culturally and socially."
The League party, of which Salvini is a member, has introduced 21 amendments to already existing immigration laws, which it claims will speed up repatriations and act as a deterrent to recent immigrants.
According to a government statement regarding the emergency declaration, there will be "new structures, suitable both for sheltering as well as for the processing and repatriation of migrants who don't have the requisites to stay" in Italy. While building new housing for migrants may assist with getting them off the streets, it is unlikely to do anything to reduce the overall number of immigrants in the country.
According to data from the Italian Interior Ministry, the majority of illegal immigrants are arriving in Italy from Ivory Coast (17 percent), Guinea (13 percent), Pakistan (11 percent), Egypt and Tunisia (8 percent each), Bangladesh (7 percent), Cameroon (5 percent), and Syria (4 percent). Meanwhile, 22 percent are either of uncertain origins or are from other countries with smaller percentages migrating.
Italy is not the only European country to battle a recent surge in illegal immigration with Spain and the UK also struggling to keep up with a recent surge of migrants arriving by sea.
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