Italy: 100 migrants arrive on Lampedusa island after Christmas

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A hundred migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday after being picked up by the Italian Coast Guard from a boat that sank off the coast due to stormy weather. As the APA agency noted, all migrants who were rescued were transported to a migrant center on the island where they went through mandatory COVID-19 testing.

This year, more than 34,000 migrants have arrived in Italy via the Mediterranean. This is three times as many as in the previous year when the authorities recorded just over 11,000 migrants, according to Czech news portal Novinky . Italy significantly tightened its migration policy in 2018 after Matteo Salvini, the head of the League party, served in the government as minister of the interior. Italy has rolled back many of the laws that Salvini implemented in order to stem the flow of migrants, Among other things, the country closed Italian ports to the rescue vessels of non-profit organizations and imposed severe fines on the crews of ships that would violate the regulations. Italy’s left-wing government has since abolished the €1 million fine for unauthorized entry of humanitarian ships with migrants into Italian territorial waters, with the government reducing it to between €10,000 and €50,000 .

Polling shows that Italians support Salvini’s tough stance on immigration, but Italy’s ruling government has nonetheless pushed forward with reforms that have included granting amnesty to over 600,000 illegal migrants earlier in the year. The Italian governments stance has sparked rebellions from local politicians opposed to the open borders stance Italy has adopted, but the government coalition has remained resilient to such threats and new elections have not been called.

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