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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Approves Stricter Rules on Illegal Immigration Amid Surge in Migrants

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The Italian Government Implements Stricter Rules to Manage Illegal Immigration

The government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has approved new measures to handle the increasing number of migrants and address illegal immigration in the country.

Influx of Migrants to Lampedusa Prompts Action

Last week, around 10,000 migrants arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, triggering the government’s response.

Extended Detention Period for Migrants Awaiting Repatriation

Prime Minister Meloni announced that migrants awaiting repatriation will now be detained for an initial period of six months, which can be extended up to 18 months. Currently, the detention period is three months.

Focus on Repatriation of Ineligible Migrants

Meloni emphasized the importance of not only assessing migrants’ eligibility for international protection but also facilitating the repatriation of those who do not qualify. Many migrants come to Italy for economic reasons and are not eligible for asylum.

Establishment of More Detention Centers

The Cabinet approved the establishment of additional detention centers in remote areas of Italy. The government aims to increase the capacity of these facilities, which have been weakened due to years of immigration policies.

Defense Ministry’s Role in Detaining Migrants

The Ministry of Defense will create structures to detain migrants who have entered the country illegally. These detention centers will be located in sparsely populated areas, reducing inconvenience and insecurity in Italian cities.

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Previous Challenges and European Efforts

Previous attempts to detain migrants have faced difficulties, with many detainees escaping and heading to wealthier European countries. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Lampedusa with Meloni and promised an EU action plan, but similar initiatives in the past have not made a significant impact. An agreement between the EU and Tunisia, the country many migrants sailed from, has yet to be enforced.

Opposition and Human Rights Criticize the Measures

The government’s actions have been condemned by the opposition and human rights groups. The Italian Coalition for Civil Rights and Liberties (CILD) raised concerns about the violation of fundamental rights in detention centers and criticized their cost and effectiveness.

Past Measures and Funding

In April, the Italian parliament approved measures to establish new migration centers and detention facilities. The government allocated approximately 20 million euros ($21.3 million) in funding over two years to support these initiatives.

Increasing Arrival of Migrants

According to government data, nearly 130,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, almost double the number for the same period in 2022. The migrants come from various countries, including Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Challenges in Reception and Transfer

The recent influx of migrants to Lampedusa has led to overcrowding, resulting in transfers to Sicily and the Italian mainland. However, the reception center in Porto Empedocle experienced chaotic scenes as some migrants left the camp due to poor conditions. The mayor called for government support to improve the situation.

Prime Minister’s Stance and Promises

Prime Minister Meloni emphasized the need for a tough approach to tackle mass illegal immigration and human trafficking. The leader of the right-wing nationalist Fratelli d’Italia party has been in power for 11 months and made immigration control a key promise during her campaign.

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