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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Migrants a growing problem across Italy

By: V4 Agency

Two NGO ships are navigating near Italian waters with hundreds of illegal immigrants on board. According to Italy’s interior minister, the government is planning to double the cash benefits payable to migrants.

Some 50 illegal immigrants are waiting to be shipped to the continent on a Spanish NGO’s vessel.

Talking about the growing pressure of migration, Admiral Nicola De Felice warned Italy’s interior minister that if he says no to a naval blockade, Italy will face another invasion due to its open ports policy. According to estimates, some 70,000 migrants are ready to set off for Italy in good weather.

“Instead of hoping that EU countries will take in immigrants from Italy, agreements should be made with North African countries to jointly control land and sea borders and fight people smuggling,” Admiral De Felice said.

“As a matter of fact, Italy has once again been left alone in Europe,” the admiral added. “Since the meeting in Portugal, there has been no response as to the relocation of migrants landing on our shores. Only 1,273 migrants have been transferred from Italy to other EU member states since 2018. The Italian strategy which focuses on their relocation is flawed, and if the methods don’t change, up to a thousand illegal immigrants could arrive on the shores of Sicily, Sardinia and Salento every day.”

De Felice thinks that a maritime blockade could be a viable solution. “A naval blockade should not be interpreted solely as described in the UN Charter, which defines it as a measure to protect national interests against another, manifestly hostile nation.” The interior minister believes, however, that a blockade cannot be declared, because it is an act of war, not to be used in peace.

The admiral is also known to support the involvement of European forces, both on land and at sea, to back Tunisian border guards, and he thinks the same solution is needed in the case of Libya. “I would like you to recall that in the 1990s, a similar method was successfully used in Somalia to combat piracy,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has decided to double state benefits payable to illegal migrants – raising it to 300 euros – arguing that they cannot purchase essential products on 150 euros.

In addition, cost of maintenance at the refugee camps also keeps rising. Running a camp with 50 migrants used to cost around 390 thousand euros a year. In 2021, operating a refugee centre with the same capacity is likely to cost 524 thousand euros, a 35 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

Finding accommodation for newcomers is only part of the problem, as there appears to be a spike in violent crimes committed by irregular migrants.

A few days ago, a German tourist was raped by an illegal migrant, who reached the continent from Egypt. After the young tourist rejected his approach, he dragged the woman behind a wall and raped her, then fled the scene. When the woman recovered, she asked for help and a security guard drove her to a nearby hospital and alerted the police. When the offiers apprehended and questioned the Egyptian national regarding the rape, he said anyone would have done the same as the victim’s legs were naked.

Illegal migrants have also attacked many elderly people and authorities registered several assaults against senior Italian citizens across the country last week. In Pistoia, near Florence, a migrant used a road sign to smash up cars parked along the road or passing by. When he hit the car of an elderly couple and the driver got out, he struck the older man in the head with the metal sign and then punched him repeatedly, when he was already on the ground. The victim was rushed to the emergency ward and, after a brief search operation, authorities have managed to capture two suspects, both irregular migrants.

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