Italian DeSantis? Anger as PM Meloni Sends Migrants to Cities Run by Leftist Mayors

RAVENNA, ITALY - DECEMBER 31: Ocean Viking humanitarian ship docks at the port of Ravenna
Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty Images

Italian leftists are furious over Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni directing NGO migrant “taxi” ships to drop off migrants in cities run by leftist mayors.

Alongside the new regulations for migrant “taxi” ships as part of a recent security decree, the Meloni government has begun to direct vessels picking up migrants in the Mediterranean to ports further away from the search and rescue (SAR) area, often to cities run by leftist mayors.

The new policy has sparked protests from the left-establishment Democratic Party (PD) and the city mayors themselves, arguing the measures are “punitive” despite the supposed benefits of diversity and immigration, Il Giornale reports.

Wanda Ferro, the undersecretary at Italy’s Interior Ministry, responded to the protests from the left, saying: “The left protests because NGO ships are finally disembarking in other regions of central Italy and no longer only in the South. Evidently, on the left, they would like to transform Calabria and Sicily into the refugee camp of Europe, a completely unacceptable prospect.”

Ferro added that the asylum reception centres in the Italian south have been under constant pressure for years, and that the government’s move to relieve that pressure was the correct approach.

She also rejected complaints from migrant “taxi” NGOs who are forced to travel days from the SAR area, observing that “no one is shocked when the same ships keep refugees at sea for weeks” waiting to pick up more migrants.

(The ships also go out of their way to take migrants to European ports rather than closer North African ones, of course.)

“Perhaps the left suffers from a sort of NIMBY [not in my back yard] syndrome, preaching welcome as long as it is away from their back yard,” Ferro suggested.

Similar complaints were lodged by leftists in the United States last September after Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis sent migrants to the wealthy liberal enclave of Martha’s Vineyard.

The new Italian regulations toward migrant “taxis” were put into effect earlier this month and could see heavy fines and possible seizures of the ships of NGOs that do not comply with them.

Several of the NGOs have expressed dissatisfaction over the new rules, and have called on the European Union and others to challenge the Italian government — although the EU has so far declined to get involved.

“Among other rules, the Italian government requires civilian rescue ships to immediately head to Italy after each rescue. This delays further lifesaving operations, as ships usually carry out multiple rescues over the course of several days,” the NGOs claimed in a joint statement.

Migrant “taxi” ships were responsible for dropping off over 10,000 illegals in Italy last year alone. The country saw over 100,000 illegal arrivals overall, the highest level since 2017.

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



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