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Illegal immigration to Italy has reached its highest level ever

In Italy, despite the overwhelming right-wing electoral success in September, there is still nothing to be seen of the promised asylum turnaround – on the contrary. Giorgia Meloni has been in office for five months, but the arrivals of migrants in Italy have doubled compared to the previous year.

Published: February 26, 2023, 8:42 am

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    Some 12 667 migrants have arrived in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of the year, a record high. In the same period in 2022, there were still 5 273, half as many, according to the Ministry of the Interior in Rome. The numbers are also explosive because the new head of government, Meloni, promised an immediate halt to illegal mass immigration, which Italy has been suffering from for years, should she win the elections.

    Now Meloni is under increasing pressure to justify herself. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said the number of migrants would have been even higher had the Meloni government not strengthened cooperation with Libya and Tunisia since taking office in October.

    “It is also thanks to our cooperation that the Tunisian and Libyan authorities have been able to prevent the arrival of almost 21 000 migrants since November 1. This is an important achievement,” Piantedosi told Milan’s Il Giornale newspaper.

    “Since taking office, the government has made tackling irregular immigration one of its priorities. The first tangible result is that the migration phenomenon, after being underestimated for years, has once again become the focus of critical discussion in the EU. This is primarily thanks to Prime Minister Meloni,” said the non-party interior minister, giving his head of government more support.

    Giorgia Meloni took her official seat in Rome in October. During the election campaign, Meloni called for a naval blockade off North Africa to stop migrant arrivals. The government is also trying to complicate the use of private sea rescuers in the Mediterranean with several laws.

    And even if she succeeds, which is doubtful, other EU countries are working hard to bring in more foreigners.

    Germany also enabling mass immigration

    The traffic light government is leaving no stone unturned to fuel the mass immigration to Germany, which has long since gotten out of control. Now, for a change, the “skilled workers” argument has to be used again. Federal Labor Minister Heil (SPD) and Development Minister Schulze (SPD) even traveled to Ghana specifically to set up further migration incentives in Africa.

    Ghana even has its own German migration advice center for a long time. From now on, this should attract more “skilled workers” and train them themselves. Previously, the center had primarily tried to help black African returnees and support them in building up a livelihood in their homeland.

    A statement by Heil and Schulze said: “While many countries, such as Ghana, are faced with the challenge of creating jobs for their young, growing population, demographic change in Germany means that we are desperate for workers in many areas.” Migration should be managed so that it is mutually beneficial.

    So that migrants can be lured to Germany not only from Ghana in the future, further centers “for migration and development” are to be set up in a number of countries. In addition to Ghana, there is talk of Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Indonesia. They are to be financed by the Development Ministry with 150 million euros over three years.

    More asylum applications than ever

    In the European Union, more people applied for asylum last year than since 2015/16, when ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel triggered a veritable “refugee” tsunami by opening the border. According to the EU Asylum Agency (EUAA), a total of 966 000 people applied for asylum in the 27 EU countries as well as in Switzerland and Norway.

    The latest numbers show a 50 percent increase from 2021. Since 2008, higher numbers have only been recorded in 2015 and 2016, when there were well over a million applications. The EU agency cited the easing of corona restrictions as well as numerous conflicts and food shortages as reasons for the current increase.

    The largest groups of asylum seekers were Syrians (132 000 applications), Afghans (129 000), Turks (55 000), Venezuelans (51 000) and Colombians (43 000). In addition, there were around four million refugees from the Ukraine who, however, do not have to apply for asylum in the EU and are therefore not included in the figures.

    According to the EUAA, the asylum systems of the 27 EU countries are coming under increasing pressure in view of the high number of applications. An end to the rush is not in sight.

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