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With immigration surging due to favourable weather, Italian League party leader Matteo Salvini is pointing out that he is currently on trial for defending his country’s borders by refusing to allow migrant ships to dock.
‘The landings continue relentless, but tomorrow I am on trial in Palermo because as a minister I had drastically reduced them,’ wrote Salvini on social media.
Salvini, who previously served as interior minister, once blocked illegal immigrants from landing in Italy, which led to a dramatic decrease in immigration numbers. He is currently on trial for ‘kidnapping’ the migrants for his actions blocking numerous migrant NGO ships from heading to Italy.
The influx of migrants is currently resulting in officials warning that the country is running out of space to accommodate the constant arrivals. At the same time, 400 people arrived from Africa over the weekend, and another 180 on Thursday.
Maria Rita Cocciufa, the prefect of Agrigento in Sicily, immediately sounded the alarm due to the migratory pressure. In her opinion, the forecasts are not very encouraging with current estimates suggesting the total number of illegal immigrants to come to Italy this year could exceed last year’s total of 37,000.
‘If they continue to land at a similar rate, the situation will become unmanageable within a few weeks,’ the Sicilian leader warned.
According to official figures from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, 15,876 immigrants have arrived in Italy so far this year. According to press reports, the reception centre in Lampedusa is already full, yet two civilian ships are anchored off the Italian coast waiting to be accommodated. Diciotti has 165 and Geo Barents has another 471 migrants on board who are waiting for the authorities to give permission to dock.
Salvini recently warned that up to 20 million African migrants could head to Europe due to looming food shortages due to the war in Ukraine. The League leader is calling for an immediate end to the conflict, saying that if hostilities are not concluded by the end of May, the threat to Africa’s food supply will be dire. Russia and Ukraine supply up to 30 per cent of the world’s grain, and disruptions in export are expected to spark a food crisis in poorer regions.
Massimiliano Fedriga, the governor of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, recently asked the government to differentiate between Ukrainians fleeing the war, who are mainly women and children, and illegal immigrants from Africa, who are predominantly young men. Experts estimate that the collapse of the Italian reception system is expected in the short term, with reception centres unprepared for the arrival of the masses.
Opposition leader Giorgia Meloni called it unacceptable that due to the incompetence or corruption of Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, thousands of illegal immigrants would be landing on the Italian coast while the country would also have to provide for real war refugees.
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Categories: Current Events