Italy’s left-wing government has failed to control illegal migration, leading to a 150 percent increase in illegal migration compared to last year.
Facing pressure for the anti-immigration League party led by Matteo Salvini and Italian citizens concerned about the influx of migrants, the government has tried to present a harder stance on the illegal migration issue, with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio warning Tunisian President Kais Said there will be no room for illegal migrants in Italy.
Since the beginning of August 2019 to the end of July 2020, 21,618 migrants arrived at the Italian coast, which is 148.7 percent more than the 8,691 arrivals in the previous year, according to Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese.
Approximately 41.6 percent of the migrants who landed in Italy in the past year departed from Tunisia while Libya accounted for 40.7 percent.
Migrants are breaking out of quarantine
The current left-wing government has so far been benevolent to illegal migration, but the situation, especially as many migrants have been infected with COVID-19, is becoming unbearable in some areas, the Le Figaro daily reported.
Reports of mass breakouts of migrants in quarantine have raised alarm that these migrants could be a vector for disease. In just one weekend in July, over 700 migrants in quarantine broke out of quarantine, which prompted a massive police manhunt to locate them and bring them back to quarantine facilities.
The Italian government also granted mass amnesty to 600,000 illegal migrants in May of this year, with Salvini warning at the time that such a move would only encourage more migration to Italy. While Salvini was interior minister, Italy experienced a massive reduction in migrant landings due to his hardline policies to block NGO boats and migrant landings, which are policies the new government has reversed.
Italy’s government puts pressure on Tunisia
According to Czech news portal Echo24, the Italian foreign minister paid a working visit to Tunisia together with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, European Commissioner for Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, and European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
After meeting with Tunisian President, Minister Di Maio said that his country “is ready to provide all necessary assistance to Tunisia” in the fight against illegal immigration.
“However, there is no doubt that those who come to Italy do so illegally,” he added.
A few days ago, despite the unbearable situation in Italy, the new German ship Sea-Watch 4 left the port of Burriana and sailed to the central Mediterranean to transport illegal migrants to Italy again. The representatives of the German organization claim that Italy is blocking humanitarian ships.
Die Leinen sind los! Unser Schiff ist unterwegs. Die Sea-Watch 4 des Bündnisses @United4Rescue, initiiert von der @EKD, wird tun, was der Staat verweigert: Seenotrettung als Teil einer Flüchtlings- und Migrationspolitik, die Menschenrechte schützt und geordneten Zugang schafft. pic.twitter.com/i6ZNiA0USC
— Sven Giegold (@sven_giegold) August 15, 2020
Even before the boat set sail, the ship’s captain, Jacob Frümann, declared that Sea-Watch 4 would operate about 30 miles off the coast of Libya and, sooner or later, it would need an Italian port to drop off migrants.
The Sea Watch NGO raises funds through crowdfunding and is also sponsored by the German Evangelical Church.
Title image: In this photo provided by the Tunisian Presidency, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, second from right, speaks with Tunisian President Kais Saied, right, in Carthage, near Tunis, Monday, Aug, 17, 2020. Top Italian and EU officials are holding talks in Tunisia on Monday to try to stem the growing numbers of migrants crossing from this North African country to Europe. (Slim Abid/Tunisian Presidency via AP)