After greatly reducing the number of migrants illegally entering Italy, populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini claims not to be content and has now set his sights on increasing deportations.
Recently released statistics show that only 1,491 migrants were able to land in Italy in August of this year, down a massive 65 percent from last year’s figures. Despite the success in decreasing the flow of migrants, Interior Minister Salvini has declared he is not satisfied and will now tackle the issue of deporting more illegal migrants, Il Giornale reports.
“Now we are working to increase expulsions, something that those who preceded me, unfortunately, did not,” Salvini said earlier this week and promised to cut down wait times of those facing deportation as well as make a concerted effort to chase down those who were not in compliance with the residency permit rules.
“Expulsions: from words to deeds, ” he added.
The shift in focus on migration comes after Salvini announced that he had been working on several agreements with other countries to take back their citizens either through voluntary or forced repatriation. Salvini commented on why such agreements had not been completed before saying: “I do not know what the person before me was doing with his time.”
In the run-up to the national election earlier this year, Salvini promised to deport as many as 500,000 illegal migrants from Italy saying: “There are half a million irregular migrants in Italy. All of them need to be sent home.”
Since stopping migrant rescue NGO vessels from docking at Italian ports, Salvini has pushed for other European Union countries to share the burden of taking in any migrants who do arrive. After a failed EU summit, Salvini and coalition partner and leader of the Five Star Movement Luigi di Maio have proposed cutting off Italian funding to the European Union until the issue is resolved.
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