Salvini Announces New Plan to Deport at Least 2,700 Illegal Migrants from Italy

Matteo Salvini

Populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has announced his first steps to start deporting illegal migrants which will see the country invest 12 million euros and expects to deport at least 2,700 illegals.

The new plan is the first concrete proposal to start the process of deportations following Salvini’s closure of the ports to migrant transport NGOs, the major source of incoming asylum seekers, earlier this year.

The plan, which will also be half funded by the European Union, looks to deport migrants from countries including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh, and Pakistan with which Italy currently does not currently have a repatriation agreement, Il Giornale reports.

“After years of Democratic Party government, sending back the illegal immigrants to their country of origin was almost impossible,” Salvini said.

“But, after practically reducing the landings to zero, we are working on this and I am confident,” he added.

“My priority commitment remains to make agreements with the countries of origin to encourage coercive repatriations,” he said.

A spokesman from the home of the Interior Ministry, the Palazzo del Viminale, spoke about the 12 million euro funds saying, “The project activities will start in February 2019 and will be completed by December 31, 2021.”

The project comes after a similar one last August that worked with the International Organization for Migration (OIM) to deport around 900 illegal migrants at a cost of six million euros.

The programme falls dramatically short of the ambitions to deport 500,000 migrants within a five-year period that Salvini initially promised on the campaign trail should his League party have won the election, saying at the time, “There are half a million irregular migrants in Italy. All of them need to be sent home.”

Italy’s neighbour Austria, which has a populist-conservative coalition, has also increased the number of deportations this year by 36 per cent under Austrian populist Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, an ally of Salvini.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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