Update: Record 8.300 Migrants Cross from Africa to Italy over Easter Weekend

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Easter weekend saw a record number of sea migrants into Italy from North Africa, with more than 8,300 migrants taking advantage of the good weather and calm seas to make the perilous crossing.

As Breitbart News reported earlier, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) picked up between 1,500 and 1,800 men, women, and children over the weekend, while other search-and-rescue (SAR) assets rescued another 2,074.

The latest figures reveal that literally dozens of rescue operations in the Mediterranean have resulted in the arrival of over 8,300 migrants as vessels continued streaming in to Italian ports throughout the morning on Monday. The majority of the migrants reportedly come from Sahba, a migrant camp in Libya.

This latest large wave of migrants follows hard on the heels of new Italian legislation passed last week to expedite both the granting of asylum to true refugees as well as the acceleration of repatriation in cases where asylum requests are rejected. The new law also limits the number of appeals to one, down from the two appeals previously allowed.

Italy has seen a steep rise in immigration in the first quarter of 2017, up a significant 30 percent over the same period in 2016, despite the fact that immigration numbers hit new records last year. With the Easter weekend arrivals, the year’s total immigration into Italy now exceeds 37,000.

Last fall, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi cautioned that Italy would not survive another year of mass immigration like 2016.

“Either we block the influx by 2017 or Italy will not handle another year like the past year,” Renzi announced on national television.

“Right now we can manage it: winter is coming and sea conditions will worsen, but we have six months maximum,” Renzi said, while pushing for urgent measures to stop the migrants leaving their countries of origin.

Recent reports suggest that human traffickers are now exploiting the many NGOs and humanitarian associations that provide passage to migrants from North Africa into Italy. Officials insist that the easy shuttle service offered from just off the Libyan coast all the way to Italian ports has created a substantial “pull factor” that incites many migrants to attempt the crossing who would not do so otherwise.

In a report released last month, Frontex, the European agency in charge of border control, accused humanitarian organizations of material complicity with human traffickers by lowering their costs and improving their “business model.”

“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.

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