(ConservativeSense.com) – The number of illegal immigrants entering Europe via Italy has doubled under the leadership of Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, despite her promises to crack down on migration. Figures from the Italian Interior Ministry reveal that 89,158 people have crossed the Mediterranean into Italy so far in 2023, compared to 41,435 for the same period in 2022. The figures represent an increase of 115%.
The number of asylum applications was also up by more than 70%, with 72,460 applications registered in the first six months of 2023. Deportations were up, but only slightly, from 2,000 in 2022 to 2,561 in the first half of 2023.
Meloni came to power in October 2022, promising to end the migration to Italy from northern Africa. In her maiden speech as Prime Minister, she told the Italian Parliament, “We must stop illegal departures and human trafficking,” but she stressed that she would not interfere with asylum rights. Within a year, however, she appeared to change her tune when, in July 2023, she said Italy and Europe needed immigration. Her revised stance drew criticism from supporters, particularly in light of the crime epidemic unleashed on the country by immigrants.
Statistics from 2018, when immigration figures were lower, revealed that over 31% of crimes in Italy were committed by migrants. This represented an increase of 27% from the previous year.
The figures also revealed that almost half of serious assaults against women, including rape, were committed by illegal immigrants.
Pressure is said to be growing on the Prime Minister as the crisis deepens. She supported an agreement with Tunisia, which tops the list of nations migrants are departing from, to stem the flow from its shores in exchange for aid. European leaders, including Meloni and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, said the agreement aimed to tackle ruthless people smuggling, which Tunisian leader Kais Saied described as “shocking.”
EU border agency Frontex said 330,000 illegal migrants arrived in Europe last year, but open-border critics say this is a vast underestimate.
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