Italy Sees Thousands of Illegals Arrive in First Weeks of 2023, More than Same 2021-22 Period Combined

TOPSHOT - Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa sit in a makeshift boat that was being used to
FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

Italy has seen a total of 3,862 illegal migrant arrivals in just over two weeks so far this year, more than five times the arrivals in the same counting periods in 2021 and 2022 combined.

The Italian Interior Ministry released figures for illegal immigrant arrivals from the start of January until the 17th, revealing a total of 3,862 illegals have arrived in Italy in just over two weeks compared to just 386 during the same period in 2022 and 340 in 2021.

According to the data, the vast majority of the arrivals took place in the first few days of this year, with January 3rd seeing 1,193 migrant arrivals alone, followed by 525 on New Year’s Day and 499 on January 2nd.

The number has already exceeded the total number for all of January last year, which stood at 3,035 migrants, with migrants from the Ivory Coast and Pakistan making up the largest number of identified foreign nationals among the illegals so far this year.

The numbers come after Italy saw over 100,000 migrants enter the country illegally last year, the first time the 100,000 mark had been passed since 2017, with at least 1,368 migrants declared either missing or dead, according to statistics from the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.

Since coming into power after her election win last September, conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has promised to tackle the growing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.

While the Meloni government has recently introduced new regulations on the activities of migrant taxi NGOs, including requirements not to make multiple rescues at sea, the new numbers from the Interior Ministry show the illegal arrival numbers are only increasing since the same period last year.

Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Meloni suggested a possible naval blockade in the Mediterranean Sea to stop people smugglers from sending boats on the dangerous voyage and while the plan has backing from a top Italian Admiral, no blockade has been implemented so far.

Instead, the Meloni government has suggested implementing a so-called Marshall plan for Africa, which aims to send cash to African countries in the hopes that investment in local economies may motivate migrants to stay in their home countries.

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


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