In the wake of recent Islamic terror attacks in Berlin and Turkey, Italy’s National Director of Public Safety has announced a clampdown on illegal aliens as well as an increase in deportations.
National police chief Franco Gabrielli has sent a circular letter to the country’s police departments announcing a new “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal immigrants, including intensified checks and controls as well as expulsions of foreigners without residence permits.
In the letter, Gabrielli urges “maximum attention from the different branches of law enforcement to track down foreigners in irregular situations through targeted controls.” The police chief also directs law enforcement officers to “establish immediate contact with immigration officials to expedite deportation procedures” for those found to be in the country illegally.
The circular letter underscores the importance of the crackdown “in the current context of crisis in the face of increasing migratory pressures and an international scenario characterized by instability and threats.” The grave situation imposes on law enforcement a “maximum commitment” to keep the territory “under control,” it reads.
The new hardline policy was announced on New Year’s Eve and follows on a deadly truck attack in Berlin earlier this month, when Tunisian jihadist Anis Amri drove a tractor-trailer through a Christmas market, killing twelve and injuring dozens more. Amri was later shot in a skirmish with Italian police in Milan.
New Year’s Eve is considered a particularly vulnerable time due to the large crowds that gather in towns and cities across Europe. Last year’s celebrations were marked by scores of cases of robbery and sexual assault by migrants in the center of Cologne, Germany, resulting in more than 1,000 criminal charges.
On Friday, Italy’s Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti said that the nation’s terror alert remains high, and assured Italians of a “very high security level” regarding possible terror attacks.
“We are keeping a careful watch on the terror risk, with all the agencies and resources in the field to guarantee the security of the territory,” he said.
“But this should not prevent the citizens of our country from feeling safe and celebrating the festivities in all tranquility,” he said.
In Rome, authorities have announced full deployment of law enforcement as of 7:00pm Saturday, with special attention given to national monuments such as the Roman Coliseum and the Circus Maximus, where large throngs are expected and entertainment will be offered.
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