Italy to control and remove illegal migrants

Italy’s new prime minister is calling for a reversal on earlier policies that the country followed on migration. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has pledged that he will tackle irregular migration, by taking a completely different stance from that of his predecessor, Matteo Renzi.

In line with Gentiloni’s calls, the head of the country’s Civil Protection Department, Franco Gabrielli has drafted a document to challenge, “a growing migratory pressure and an international context marked by instability and threats.” The two-page directive, which was sent to police stations nationwide on New Year’s Eve, instructed police to take “extraordinary action” to “control and remove illegal migrants.”

These announcements are coming a week after the Berlin Christmas attacker was shot dead near Milan. The attacker, Anis Amri, a Tunisian migrant, had arrived in Italy in 2011 and was released from detention in 2015 with court orders to leave the country. The attack using a truck in Berlin killed 12 people, including an Italian woman.

More than 500,000 refugees have arrived in Italy since 2014. In 2016, pushed by the closing of the eastern Mediterranean routes the number of refugees arriving on Italian shores increased by more than a fifth. According to UNHCR reports, more than 180,000 migrants used the south Mediterranean route to Italy in 2016.

Nearly 27,000 migrants were ordered to leave Italy in 2015. Italy’s interior ministry is already planning to open new detention centers where migrants will be held prior to their deportation. According to reports from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a Paris based humanitarian body, most of the reception centers in Italy are over-crowded.

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