“I promised to defend the borders and I am doing it with all my energy and all the means at my disposal,” said Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini Monday.
Salvini’s message came in response to Italian media reports that illegal immigration into Italy has been brought to a virtual standstill, with fewer than 2,000 migrants disembarking in Italian ports in the entire month of July. Last July the figure was over 11,000 while in 2016 the number was 23,552.
From January 1 through July 28, a total of 18,314 migrants have arrived on the Italian coast, whereas in the same seven months in 2017 the total was 95,000.
Commandant Sebastiano Rossitto of the frigate Virginio Fasan, who heads up the Italian mission along the coast of Libya since mid-2015, said that in the last several months the situation has “completely changed,” and “for now the emergency seems to have ended.”
The remarkable statistics have led even mainstream Italian media to declare that “the Salvini solution is working.”
Despite growing opposition from the Catholic establishment and pro-immigration groups, the pugnacious 45-year-old leader of the League party shows no signs of letting up in his battle against once rampant illegal immigration.
Salvini enjoys immense public support among rank-and-file Italians, with polls revealing earlier this month that the interior minister is the most trusted politician in the country.
In a tweet Monday morning, Salvini said that cleaning up the mess made by his predecessors from the Democrat Party (PD) has not been easy, “but I am happy that after just three months in office results are already apparent.”
— Thomas D. Williams (@tdwilliamsrome) July 27, 2018
Last month, Ms. Bonino said that failing to receive more immigrants will “make the European Union crumble,” adding that nations’ mottos should be “Europe first.”
“There is no alternative,” Bonino said, “the alternative is 28 little countries in shambles, 28 little countries adrift.”
Last month Ms. Bonino, who spearheaded the Italian campaign to legalize abortion 40 years ago, called Matteo Salvini “vulgar,” “offensive,” and “cruel” at the presentation of a new project titled “Welcoming Europe: toward a Europe without walls.”
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