The Italian parliament has signed into law a series of provisions designed to streamline the processing of asylum requests as well as the deportations of those whose requests are rejected.
As Breitbart News reported Thursday, the number of migrants arriving in Italy in the first quarter of 2017 has exceeded the previous record number by a remarkable 30 percent, and Italy’s infrastructure for dealing with migrants has been stretched to the breaking point.
The so-called Minniti-Orlando immigration law, named after its sponsors, Interior Minister Marco Minniti and Justice Minister Andrea Orlando, introduces several new features, such as the creation of new centers for repatriation, the elimination of the possibility of a second appeal, and a reduction of the time required for processing an asylum request.
The new law allocates 19 million euros to expedite the deportation of asylum applicants who have been turned down. The new holding centers for repatriation with a capacity of 1,600 persons will be established generally outside urban centers and close to transport infrastructure.
The new measures have been praised by leaders of conservative parties such as the Northern League, but they still do not address the fundamental problem of daily arrivals of hundreds of new immigrants by sea.
In recent weeks, Italy’s failure to deal with the constant flow of economic migrants leaving from North Africa has drawn considerable criticism, even from groups such as Frontex, the European agency in charge of control of the EU’s borders.
In a report released in March, Frontex accused NGOs and other humanitarian organizations of providing a shuttle service for migrants from Africa to Europe, and in this way becoming accomplices of human traffickers by lowering their costs and improving their “business model.”
The presence of rescue vessels ready to transport migrants to Italy has created a significant “pull factor,” the report stated, significantly increasing the number of migrants who dare to attempt the crossing.
“Migrants and refugees – encouraged by the stories of those who had successfully made it in the past – attempt the dangerous crossing since they are aware of and rely on humanitarian assistance to reach the EU,” the report said.
Following the release of the report, an Italian public prosecutor pointed out the obvious: that rescue vessels should not be ferrying migrants to Italy in the first place, but to a nearer port, as established by international accords. Carmelo Zuccaro, the chief prosecutor of Catania (Sicily), noted that while it is not a crime to invade the waters of a foreign country to pick migrants up, it is a crime to illegally transport them to Italy.
“What is punishable is bringing them to Italy without respecting the rules of engagement, which establish that vessels should take migrants to the nearest port, which is certainly not Italy,” he said.
Italy will spend some 3.9 billion euros ($4.1 billion) on managing immigration this year alone, almost three times as much as in 2013.
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