The Italian government is tightening migration laws and extending detention periods

The Italian government is tightening migration laws and extending detention periods
The Italian government is tightening migration laws and extending detention periods
Lampedusa. Photo: Reuters

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni already announced on Sunday, after the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, that her government will tighten control over illegal migration.

“This means – and I am making this very clear to all of Africa – if you rely on human traffickers to break Italian law, you must be aware that upon arrival in Italy you will be arrested and then sent back to your homeland,” she said in a television interview.

Among other things, Meloni highlighted the measure of extending the maximum period allowed for the detention of illegal immigrants from 135 days to 18 months. The latter was already allowed between 2011 and 2014, before it was shortened to 135 days by Matteo Renzi’s government.

Among the measures, she also mentioned the establishment of new detention centers for illegal immigrants. There are currently nine such centers in Italy, and new ones are to be set up in already designated sparsely populated areas. This will prevent “inconvenience and uncertainty in Italian cities”, she said.

The existing centers have a maximum capacity of 1,161 people, but last year they accommodated almost 6,400 people. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, more than 127,000 refugees have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, while 66,200 arrivals were recorded in the whole year last year.

Meloni already announced the tightening of measures against illegal immigrants a few days ago. On Sunday, together with the president of the European Commission, she visited the island of Lampedusa, where many defectors from North Africa come.

At the same time, Von der Leyen presented a ten-point European action plan to solve the migration pressure on Italy, which, in addition to the fight against smugglers and the possibility of expanding naval missions in the Mediterranean, also includes support for Italy in the transfer of refugees from Lampedusa.

On the island, which is facing the biggest wave of migration so far, according to the data of the UN Migration Agency, approximately 8,500 people arrived on 199 boats in the week between Monday and Wednesday alone, which is more than the population of this island.

Italy wants to stop the arrival of refugees

Escape of at least a hundred defectors

In the reception center for refugees in Porto Empedocles in the south of Sicily, where a large number of refugees were transferred from the island of Lampedusa a few days ago, there is chaos due to overcrowding and at least a hundred refugees left the center arbitrarily.

At least a hundred defectors scaled the fence of the reception center, where more than a thousand people were said to be staying, and left, injuring at least one police officer, Italian news agency Ansa reported. The center in Porto Empedoclo is otherwise transitory in nature. From these, the defectors were supposed to be transferred to centers in other parts of Italy, but there were delays due to transport problems.

The defectors who left the center arbitrarily are now being sought by the police. The mayor of Porto Empedocla, Calogero Martello, was critical of the conditions in the center, calling them intolerable and inhumane.

“They didn’t run away to go to other places, but to find food and drink,” he told Italian news portal RaiNews and asked for government help. He added that groups of defectors walking around the city instilled fear among local residents. The overcrowded reception center is supposed to be guarded by only about 20 police officers.

France and Germany will not accept defectors

France does not intend to accept the refugees who have arrived in Lampedusa in recent days, announced French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who assured that France is ready to help Italy control the border.

Speaking to Europe 1 radio before today’s visit to Rome, Darmanin assessed that it is not possible to expect an immediate transfer of defectors across Europe. “It would be a mistake to think that refugees arriving in Europe should be immediately distributed throughout Europe and France, which already bears part of the burden,” he said.

As RTV Slovenia’s correspondent from Berlin, Maja Derčar, reports, even Germany does not intend to accept the defectors who arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa in the middle of last week as part of the voluntary solidarity mechanism. The reason is that Italy has so far not allowed the return of 12,400 asylum seekers who came to Germany illegally from its territory. Europe’s largest country is currently not planning stationary checkpoints on its borders, but is maintaining those between Bavaria and Austria. He predicts a tougher fight against the smuggling of refugees.

Germany will not accept refugees from Lampedusa

The article is in Slovenian

Tags: Italian government tightening migration laws extending detention periods


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