Migrant emergency, the government tries to clarify: “The figures are worrying, but the numbers are decreasing”


By John

Arrivals by sea have doubled, but the trend is decreasing. The government takes stock of themigrant emergency and, at the end of the Council of Ministers and a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Security, attempts to clarify the issues figures.

«There is an undeniable fact about migrants: from the beginning of the year to August 28th there was a 103% increase in arrivals by sea compared to the same period last year“, explained the undersecretary of the presidency Alfredo Mantovano, according to whom “the numbers must be read” and “the reading of the numbers which – he underlines – are objectively worrying cannot, however, fail to show the dynamics of the arrivals themselves which experienced a peak in month of May and then a decrease. In particular, Tunisia in May, compared to the same period last year, recorded +1008%, today +386%, in Libya it was +167%, now +13%”.

Data which according to the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, give us hope: «during the year we had a 329% increase in arrivals, which dropped to 103%: this signals that there is a decline in the growth curve and this encourages us. In particular, the collaboration with Tunisia has blocked 43 thousand people on the ground, +171% compared to last year: the work that Tunisia has done is important”, explains the head of the Interior Ministry, announcing that “there will be a permanent confrontation with the government ( the reference is precisely to the meetings of the Interministerial Committee for the Security of the Republic, which from today will be constant – ed.) and we will continue on this path even if the numbers are still very important also with regard to reception”. Precisely this last front “is holding up” also thanks to the “collaboration that the territories are giving not without difficulties which – he specifies – we are taking on and will take on in an increasing manner”.

New peak in the last few days

The record-breaking summer for landings has meanwhile reached a new peak: last August 26, when 55 landings occurred, 3,042 arrivals were recorded, the highest number in 2023 (in the same period last year there were 443). Lampedusa, which in the last few hours had recorded over 4,300 presences, remains overcrowded despite the non-stop transfers. This is demonstrated by the other 818 migrants present in the landing and pre-identification area in Porto Empedocle, in Agrigento. At the port of Naples, 254 migrants disembarked from the Ocean Viking ship, including 37 unaccompanied minors. After the alarm launched by the National Association of Italian Municipalities several days ago, the latest warning comes from the mayor of Turin, Stefano Lo Russo: «It is useless to deny it, the situation is certainly very complicated here too. Turin is lending a hand to this type of policy, but it is clear that it is not sustainable in the long term. It is a topic – he says – on which it is necessary to open a direct discussion with the government also because the relationship with the prefects, who do a great job, is one of collaboration, but cannot last over time. We need to imagine different paths.” Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi has meanwhile assured the mayor of Trieste, announcing that 200 migrants will be taken away from the city. Even the governor of Friuli and president of the Conference of Regions, Massimiliano Fedriga, has his say on the emergency: «The hotspots are a patch, not a solution. But I prefer a hotspot, which at least keeps people away from the area, rather than widespread reception.”

Reception in the regions

As regards reception, Lombardy is the region in which there is a greater presence of migrants, followed by Emilia Romagna, Sicily (which is also affected by presences in hotspots), Piedmont, Lazio and Campania, Tuscany, Veneto and Puglia : this is what emerges from the statistical data provided on a fortnightly basis by the government, the latest processing of which dates back to 15 August. In Lombardy there are 13,724 migrants present in reception centers and 3,090 in Sai (Integration Reception System) centres, for a total of 16,814 and in Emilia Romagna, respectively, 9,387 and 3,185, for a total of 12,572. Lazio and Campania also exceed the presence of 10 thousand migrants in their territories. As of 31 July, Sicily was the region with the highest number of migrants in Sai centres: 5,332. Overall, the total number of migrants welcomed in the area in the middle of the month was 132,796, of which 34,761 with the Sai system. On the political front, the government is already ready to launch a security decree in September with new measures to speed up the repatriation of irregular migrants responsible for violent or dangerous conduct, perhaps also providing more powers to prefects and police commissioners in the measures. We will also continue to build other detention centers for repatriations, as well as restoring the full functionality of the current ones.