Italy’s new interior minister Matteo Salvini has laid out a three-point program to deal with Italy’s migrant crisis, which he calls simple common sense.
The first point of Salvini’s action plan, he declared in a tweet Thursday, “is to increase the number of repatriation centers so that immigrants can be housed there rather than wandering the streets causing confusion.”
In past months undocumented immigrants have been involved in a series of incidents, some of which have been serious, which undoubtedly influenced voters in the March 4 national elections.
The most notorious of the incidents involved three Nigerian asylum seekers arrested by Italian police earlier this year for the murder of the brutal murder of Pamela Mastropietro, an 18-year-old whose dismembered remains were found inside two suitcases outside Macerata in central Italy in early February.
Shortly after the murder, law enforcement officials arrested Innocent Oseghale, a 29-year-old Nigerian drug dealer, and afterward discovered blood-stained clothes, large kitchen knives, a cleaver, and other items belonging to the murdered woman in the man’s apartment.
For his second point, Salvini—who is also the head of the League party—said he would “reduce the number of arrivals,” a promise he made repeatedly during the election campaign. “Sealing Italy’s borders” became a mantra of the League leader as a first step toward curbing immigration.
In recent days, migrant arrivals from North Africa have once again picked up, with some 2,000 African migrants arriving on Italian shores in one 48-hour period in late May.
People smugglers have begun channeling migrants through Tunisia instead of Libya, which has been all but shut down.
— Thomas D. Williams (@tdwilliamsrome) May 29, 2018
Earlier this week, Salvini had strong words for Tunisia, accusing the North African nation of “exporting convicts,” to Italy, which provoked a reaction of “profound astonishment” from the Tunisian government.
The third point in Salvini’s plan is “increasing the number of deportations,” another central plank in his electoral platform. During the campaign, in fact, Salvini spoke of expelling a half million migrants, just under the total of 600,000 who have entered Italy in the past four years.
After outlining his three points, Salvini was quick to offer assurances to legal immigrants, promising them they have “nothing to fear.”
Mr. Salvini has responded to criticisms that refer to his immigration platform as “hard line,” insisting that it is merely “common sense.”
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