The declaration announced on April 11 earmarked €5 million ($5.5 million) to build new holding facilities for migrants. A statement from Italian authorities said they are hoping to set up these facilities "suitable both for the reception needs and for the repatriation of migrants” who do not have the right to stay in the county."
Moreover, the Italian media have reported that a special commissioner is tasked with overseeing the allocation of funds for the state of emergency. While several candidates have been suggested, Rome has not made an official decision on the matter.
Civil Protection and Sea Policies Minister Nello Musumeci said overcrowded reception centers as the main reason for the declaration. He also mentioned that the state of emergency had been declared at the behest of Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.
According to Musumeci, there was a 300 percent increase in migration flows – something he described as an "absolute emergency" that threatened to undermine Italy's infrastructure. The state of emergency alone would not solve the problem, he stressed, as it would also require a responsible intervention by the European Union.
"We are talking about a phenomenon never seen in the past," said Musumeci. "The islands alone cannot deal with this state of emergency."
Even though the government of incumbent Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has managed to reduce the number of ships transporting migrants to Italy, the number of illegals arriving has nevertheless continued to rise. By early March, more than 17,000 migrants had made landfall in Italy – almost thrice the figure recorded a year earlier.
Meloni assumed the premiership in October 2022, vowing to ramp up deportations and stop vessels operated by non-governmental organizations from bringing migrants to Italian ports. "We must stop illegal departures and human trafficking," she emphasized during her inaugural speech before the Chamber of Deputies, the Italian counterpart of the U.S. House of Representatives. (Related: Conservative, pro-family Christian becomes Italy’s new prime minister as left-wing media, deep state comes unhinged.)
"We do not intend in any way to question the right of asylum for those fleeing wars and persecutions. All we want to do in relation to immigration is to stop the [human] traffickers from having the choice of deciding who enters Italy."
Shortly before Meloni's speech, Piantedosi threatened to close ports to two rescue boats – the Ocean Viking and Humanity 1 – for failing to follow rules. He had played a key role in preventing migrant-filled rescue boats from docking in Italian ports.
The last time the Italian government declared a state of emergency over migration was back in 2011, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
According to the Library of Congress, the 2011 state of emergency arose from the arrival of 5,000 refugees from Tunisia within a span of five days. The refugees landed on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, located 60 miles away from the North African country and former French colony. While a center for receiving migrants had been reopened on the island, it was already overcrowded.
The refugees' arrival coincided with the January 2011 Tunisian Revolution, which deposed former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 24 years in power. Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister at that time, said the state of emergency was declared because of a fear that terrorists could have blended in with the migrants to enter the country.
Visit Migrants.news for more stories about the migrant crisis in Italy and other European countries.
Watch this clip from "Bannon's War Room" about the Italian government barring citizens from entering while allowing migrants at the same time.
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