Giorgia Meloni on migrants: “It will be an invasion”. Is he right?

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“If Europe does not move and continues to leave us alone, this summer will be an invasion”. The words of the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni they were delivered during an immigration and security summit with the secret services. The prime minister makes a deduction: if landings increase in the summer, thanks to more favorable sea conditions, and now they are already increasing, the situation could only worsen.

Therefore, given the actual increase in the arrivals of migrants in Italy – second the data of the Ministry of the Interior published on 13 March (see table below) – which have tripled compared to the first months of 2023, it has passed from 6,041 at the beginning of 2021, to 6,152 in 2022, to 20,017 in 2023however, we need to understand whether we are really dealing with an unprecedented migration, which justifies the expression “invasion”, or not.

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First of all, it should be noted that, although the migratory phenomenon has a curve determined by seasonality, it is also true that the seasons have changed. As noted by the Postquoting the European agency Frontex, «the weather conditions significantly conditioned the landings recorded in the central Mediterranean, given that the traffickers took advantage of the good weather to organize the departures”. In practice, the first two months of 2023 were exceptionally hot and rainless in the Mediterranean: like in summer. Furthermore, an increase in numbers especially from the Ivory Coast and Guinea could be due to the increasingly authoritarian Tunisian government, which does not allow sub-Saharan immigrants to rent houses or withdraw money.

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Are these exceptional numbers? No, they must be placed in the broader context of the pandemic, a period in which landings dropped enormously because the closure of the borders and the bans on movement ordered by the various governments for the Covid had limited the mobility of refugees and migrants, who remained “stationary” along the borders. Italy remains the country of “first arrival” of refugees and migrants in Europe – who then go elsewhere – and after a drop in arrivals in 2020 and 2021 in 2022 the figure was already prominent: 105,100 new arrivals, compared to 67,400 in 2021 and 34,000 in 2020, and it was, in fact, the highest number since 2017. According to Frontex, around 330,000 irregular border crossings were registered last year at the external border of the EU, the highest number since 2016 with an increase of 64% compared to 2021. If there is therefore an increase, it is also true that it is “physiological”, after the end of the pandemicand that comparisons with previous years leave the time they find.

According to the latest 2022 report by Openpolis and ActionAid also, there were 20,235 vacancies in reception centers as of 31 December 2021, 20 per cent of the total. And in Sicily it rises to 30.5%. So the scenario of exploding hubs is not real. Furthermore, the report specifies that asylum seekers and refugees hosted are only 0.13 percent of the Italian population: the invasion does not seem on the horizon.

We would then have to ask ourselves why today i data of the Ministry of the Interior are taken very seriously, and, on the contrary, at the end of 2022, the data are not consulted: Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi stated: “the growth curve of landings has decreased”, considering it a success of the Meloni government starting from its inauguration. In reality, the Ministry’s numbers denied it: almost 23,400 migrants had landed on the Italian coasts, and in the same months of 2021, during the Draghi government, the landings had been about half: 12,600.

Source: Vanity Fair

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