Italy: Over a Thousand Illegal Migrants Arrive in Less Than a Day

ITALY - 2022/05/18: Women seen on board of a migrant boat in distress. The crew of Astral sailboat, of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, carried out a rescue for nearly 70 women and men in Italian Sar Zone. The Italian Coast Guard (Guardia Costiera Italiana) arrived to take people on …
Valeria Ferraro/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In less than the span of a day, Italy has seen over a thousand migrants arrive in Sicily and on the island of Lampedusa, which has once again seen its migrant reception centre completely overwhelmed and filled far beyond capacity.

The island of Lampedusa, which lies between Tunisia and Sicily, saw around 800 migrants arrive within a 24-hour period this week including 550 migrants who arrived on just 12 different boats after crossing the Mediterranean on Monday. Another 123 migrants, mostly from Egypt Pakistan and Bangladesh, were intercepted on another boat and a further 239 managed to reach the island on Tuesday.

By the end of the 24-hour period, the Lampedusa migrant reception hotspot, which has a capacity to house just 35o migrants, was housing 1,112 people, the newspaper Il Giornale reports.

On the Sicilian mainland in the Syracuse province, a total of 268 migrants arrived during the night between Monday and Tuesday, with 234 migrants first arriving on a boat that was spotted by Italian military vessels and escorted to the port of Augusta. A patrol boat belonging to the Guardia di Finanza later discovered another 34 migrants, originally from Bangladesh, who landed on Portopalo di Capo Passero.

Italy has seen a large increase in migrant arrivals so far this year, with July and August each alone seeing more migrant arrivals than the entire year of 2019.

Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is currently campaigning on reducing illegal arrivals ahead of this month’s national election, also noted that last year just 15 per cent of illegals who applied for asylum in Italy were granted refugee status, while the majority had their applications denied.

In July of this year, we exceeded the landings recorded throughout 2019. We can’t wait to return to the government to take care of work, security, and defence of Italy,” Salvini said last month and added, “We need a minister ready to defend the borders, we owe it out of respect for Italians in difficulty.”

Salvini’s centre-right coalition ally Giorgia Meloni, leader of the conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) has proposed enacting a naval blockade to stop illegal boat migrants. Meloni and her party are currently in the lead in the polls, suggesting that she may become Italy’s first female Prime Minister following the election on September 25th.

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


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