The Gatestone Institute reported that Italy’s new government plan to reverse former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s tough approach on illegal immigration has appeared to create a new wave of mass migration from northern Africa.
Once the new government came into office on September 5, more than 1,400 migrants arrived on Italian shores according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The number of migrants arriving in Italy has gradually increased during the last few weeks. 59 migrants arrived on September 6, 67 arrived on September 9, 121 arrived on September 14, 259 arrived on September 15, 275 arrived on September 18, and 475 arrived between September 19 and September 25, based on IOM findings. In total, the number of migrants arriving in September 2019 has increased by more than 100% when compared to last year’s total in September 2018.
Many of these new arrivals were able to get to Italy through newly-formed people-smuggling routes that start out in Turkey. In the past few weeks, at least five migrant boats have docked in southern Italian city of Calabria. On September 21, 58 male Pakistani migrants landed in the Calabrian port of Crotone.
Criminal organizations are also taking advantage of new routes in the Southern Mediterranean to transport people from sub-Saharan Africa to Italy. These criminal groups have used small boats to carry migrants from Libya to Tunisia, where they can then cross to Lampedusa, the southernmost island in Italy, due to it being shorter and less risky. On September 20, 92 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa — Gambia, Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — came to Lampedusa.
In the meantime, Italy’s new government is taking a more relaxed approach regarding migrant rescue ships that are being operated by European charities. These charities have been accused of working with criminal organizations to traffic migrants off the coast of Libya and transport them to Italian ports.
Salvini’s government previously banned migrant rescue ships from docking at Italian ports. However, the new government’s more lenient policy is now encouraging European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to bring more migrants in. On September 23, the Spanish NGO Open Arms announced its renewed efforts to rescue migrants and transport them aboard a vessel called Astral.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reiterated that the immigration question”must no longer fuel anti-European propaganda.” He added that the government’s more relaxed migratory measures are based on “the formula of a new humanism.” Conte’s newly appointed interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, is a career bureaucrat with moderate views on immigration.
Salvini criticized the new government and described it as one “produced by Paris and Berlin, born out of a fear of giving up power, without dignity and without ideals, with the wrong people in the wrong place.”
The loss of Salvini as interior minister will be devastating for Italy. BLP reported on his efforts to drastically reduce illegal immigration to Italy as interior minister, thus making him one of the most popular figures in all of Europe.
For that reason, EU elites have worked hard to derail Salvini and get him out of power.
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