May 28, 2023

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Italy declares a state of emergency due to “migration jams”. Immigration News

The measure will last for six months and will involve the redistribution of migrants across the country and their repatriation.

The Italian Cabinet declared a state of emergency regarding immigration after a “sharp rise” in the number of immigrant arrivals along the country’s southern shores, according to a statement, in a move aimed at better managing facilities for arrivals and repatriation.

The statement, released on Tuesday, said the state of emergency would last for six months and would be supported by an initial funding of 5 million euros ($5.42 million).

“Let it be clear, we are not solving the problem. The solution can only depend on responsible intervention by the European Union,” said Civil Protection Minister Nilo Musumesi.

The statement said the measure was necessary “to implement urgent exceptional measures to reduce overcrowding” in a crowded asylum on a small Italian island in the Mediterranean.

The government also said the money for this temporary emergency program would support “new structures suitable for both the accommodation of migrants who do not have requirements to stay and their repatriation”.

The emergency measure will now allow Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government to return people who have not been allowed to stay in Italy more quickly, a government source told Reuters, bolstering identification and expulsion orders.

According to the country’s interior ministry, some 31,300 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy so far, up from about 7,900 in the same period last year.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that during the Easter weekend of April 7-9, about 2,000 people arrived by boat on the Italian island of Lampedusa off the coast of North Africa.

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Strict policies

Over the past few months, NGOs and human rights groups have been questioning Italy’s strict immigration policies, over fears that they may violate human rights.

Italian diplomat Ferdinando Neli Ferrosi told Al Jazeera that this temporary emergency measure is essentially a scheme to “turn illegal immigration into legal immigration”.

I don’t think this is a human rights issue. There is a difference between people coming from countries like Afghanistan and Eritrea, where there is a very serious violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These people have protection and asylum rights.

But the vast majority of those arriving on Italy’s southern shores are economic migrants. So there is a problem in trying to manage the reception of these immigrants, which the contingency plan seeks to address.