Italian Ministry: Illegal Migrant Landings Up Over 40 Per Cent So Far This Year

The Italian Interior Ministry has released figures on illegal immigration that show that arrivals are up more than 40 per cent so far this year.

A total of 45,664 migrants landed in Italy illegally from January 1st to August 15th of this year, a number that is a 40.36 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to the interior Ministry statistics.

The majority of the landings were autonomous, meaning that the migrants arrive on their own by boat, which accounted for 24,317 migrants, or 53.2 per cent of the total number who have come to Italy so far this year, Il Giornale reported.

Just over 46 per cent of the migrants arrived after being rescued in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, with 7,270 migrants being brought to Italy by migrant taxi NGOs that primarily operate in SAR areas off the North African coast.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi commented on the Interior Ministry figures stating, “My government had stopped illegal immigration: only 4000 arrivals in 2010. Today, landings have increased by 40% in the last year. The EU must help us. The security of citizens is the first task of a liberal state.”

Berlusconi and his party Forza Italia (FI) are part of a centre-right coalition with populist Matteo Salvini’s League and firebrand social conservative Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI), with the coalition expected to win a majority of seats in next month’s national elections according to some projections.

Populist Matteo Salvini has spoken out about illegal immigration throughout the election campaign, hinting that he may be open to returning as Interior Minister under a new centre-right government, a position he held in 2018 and 2019.

While Salvini was serving as Interior Minister, illegal arrivals greatly declined in both 2018 and 2019. In July alone of this year, more migrants arrived on Italian shores than in the entire year of 2019.