The Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, does not want to be accused of being lukewarm in the face of the immigration challenge. Yesterday he sent a tough message after the chaos experienced in Lampedusa last week, when some 10,000 migrants landed on the island in just three days and the reception system was saturated.
As announced, the Italian Government approved new measures that toughen the current Italian provisions against irregular immigration. The first is the construction of new permanence and repatriation centers, called CPR, equivalent to the Spanish detention centers, where immigrants in an irregular situation who have arrived in Italy wait to be expelled. The second, increase the time that they can be detained until their expulsion to 18 months, the maximum allowed by the European Union. A time much longer than the maximum of 90 days, extendable by another 30 in certain cases, which the legislation in Italy allowed until now, approved in 2020 during the second government of Giuseppe Conte. In the case of asylum seekers, the legislation remains the same and they may remain in these CPRs for up to 12 months.
“All the time necessary not only to carry out the due checks, but also to proceed with the repatriations of those who do not have the right to international protection,” said the far-right prime minister during the Executive meeting, as broadcast by the Italian media. Furthermore, the order that she has given to the Ministry of Defense is to create “in the shortest possible time” these new retention and repatriation centers, which currently number a dozen, spread throughout the country. The government's intention seems to be to create at least one in each Italian region in localities "with very low population density" and that can be "easily delimited and monitored" so as not to give "greater inconvenience and insecurity to the cities," considered the leader of Brothers from Italy.
Everything happens after Meloni has been surrounded by criticism for her strategy in immigration policy after the last crisis suffered in Lampedusa, located just 150 kilometers from Tunisia. In addition to having focused on increasing punishments for traffickers and hindering the disembarkation of humanitarian ships, Meloni has focused on the controversial pact reached between the EU and Tunisia – the main country of departure for migrants to Italy in recent months. , which has not yet given any results. Yesterday, the opposition criticized the new government provisions and so did some organizations such as the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD), which called these centers “black holes in which continuous serious violations of rights are carried out. fundamental rights of detained migrants.”
In Italy, which is asking Europe for help to manage the situation, statements by the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who traveled to Rome to meet with his Italian counterpart, were not liked at all. In an interview with Europe 1 radio, Darmanin assured that France "is not preparing" to welcome migrants who recently arrived in Lampedusa but rather "wants to help Italy control its borders to prevent people from coming."