Italy PM Meloni Admits She Hoped to Do ‘Better’ on Illegal Migrant Surge

italy immigration
Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni admitted Saturday she had hoped to do “better” on controlling the illegal migration now flooding across the Mediterranean to land on Italy’s shores.

“Clearly we hoped for better on immigration, where we worked so hard,” she said in an interview marking 12 months since she took office, broadcast late Saturday on the TG1 channel as AFP reports.

Migrants arrive in the harbour of Italian island of Lampedusa, on September 18, 2023. Italy on September 18, 2023 extended detention periods for illegal migrants to deter arrivals after record boat crossings from North Africa to Lampedusa saw the country’s southernmost tip overwhelmed. (ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP via Getty Images)

Migrants wait to be transferred in the Cala Pisana of Lampedusa Island, Italy on September 17, 2023. (Valeria Ferraro/Anadolu Agency via Getty)

“The results are not what we hoped to see. It is certainly a very complex problem, but I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

Meloni spoke after she criticized the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday for hypocrisy on the issue of mass migration, charging open-borders advocates with spreading “chaos,” making human traffickers rich, and bringing the evil of slavery back into the world.

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party was elected largely on a promise to tackle illegal migration into Italy, with the leader promising back in March to “declare war” on people smugglers as Breitbart News reported.

But the human tide arriving on boats from North Africa has instead surged, with more than 130,000 recorded by the interior ministry so far this year — up from 70,000 in the same period of 2022.

After 8,500 people arrived on the tiny island of Lampedusa in just three days alone earlier this month, Meloni demanded the European Union do more to help relieve the pressure.

RELATED: Italy PM Giorgia Meloni Vows to “Accomplish the Goals that We Set Together” After Berlusconi’s Death

@GiorgiaMeloni / Twitter

Brussels agreed to intensify existing efforts, and this week said it would start to release money to Tunisia — from where many of the boats leave — under a pact aimed at stemming illegal migration from the country.

Since taking office in October, Meloni’s government has restricted the activities of the charity rescue ships, which it accuses of encouraging migrants, while vowing to clamp down on people smugglers.

It has also sought to boost repatriation of arrivals ineligible for asylum, including by building new detention centres and extending the time migrants can be held there.

It emerged this week it would also be requiring migrants awaiting a decision on asylum to pay a deposit of 5,000 euros or be sent to a detention centre, prompting accusations the state was charging “protection money.”

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