Boats from Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Britain rescued 2,900 migrants spread across 21 boats from Libya this weekend. This latest rescue means over 68,000 migrants arrived in Italy in the past six months.
Smugglers sent off the migrants from the shores of Libya. Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, received 100 migrants, while the others arrived at different ports in southern Italy.
In 2013, between January 1 and June 30, Italy received 63,885 migrants. The newest number is a 2,000 increase and on record to defeat the 2013 total of 170,000. The majority of the 2013 migrants arrived in the summer months, which means Italy could receive even more people in the following weeks.
The rapid increase is straining Italy’s government resources. For the past year, the government has pleaded with the European Union to spread the migrants across the continent. In early June, Italian politicians in the north vowed “not to shelter any more migrants saved at sea.” An investigation of politicians in the south showed they did not accept the migrants out of the goodness of their hearts. Instead, they see the people cash cows and tamper “with public contract bidding” for the shelters needed to house the migrants.
EU President Donald Tusk said a new deal will relocate migrants to other places within the EU.
“Leaders agreed that 40,000 persons in need will be relocated from Greece and Italy to other states over the next two years,” he announced. “Solidarity without sacrifice is pure hypocrisy.”