Italy’s new interior minister Matteo Salvini said in a Saturday rally that “the good times for illegals is over – get ready to pack your bags,” adding “Countries need to start doing their job and no more smugglers should be docking in Italian ports,” a not-so veiled jab at NGOs organizing rescues at sea.
Salvini, the leader of the conservative League party, assumed his role as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior on Friday. He is currently on the road to rally support for his party’s candidates in the south of Italy, attending a Sunday rally in Sicily – a prime destination for most of the hundreds of thousands of migrants which have poured into Italy in recent years, mostly from Libya.
A controversial agreement between Italy’s former centre left government and authorities and militias in Libya has triggered a fall in overall arrivals of some 75 percent since the summer of 2017. But since the start of this year, Italian authorities have registered more than 13,500 arrivals.
The latest came late Friday, just hours after Salvini took his oath of office, with some 158 people, including nine children, landing in Pozzallo after being rescued by a humanitarian boat in an operation coordinated by the Italian coast guard. –France24
After being sworn in, Salvini said that he would ask experts within his ministry “how to reduce the number of arriving migrants and increase the number of expulsions.”
In order to boost deportations – of which there were only 6,500 in 2017, Salvini will need to increase the number of detention centers while signing agreements with countries which migrants originate from – most of which are not excited to have their citizens returned.
And in order to pay for his plan, Salvini is eyeing the billions of euros earmarked every year to help deal with the demands of the asylum seekers.
In 2017, the former government announced a budget of some 4.2 billion euros for migrants, of which 18 percent is for rescues at sea, 13 percent for health care, and 65 percent for migrant reception centres, which host some 170,000 people. –France24
Salvini is no fan of the migrant reception centers – which are run by cooperatives or NGO’s who are paid 25-35 euros per day for each migrant they provide lodging, clothes and other services – including psychological support and legal aid.