Italy: Matteo Salvini Shuts Down Europes' Largest Migrant Center
Posted on: 07/09/2019 08:18 PM

While there is still much more work that needs to be done, he also wants to deploy military ships to keep migrants away. This is what a leader does who loves his own people and his nation.


Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini toured what was once Europe's largest migrant reception center on Tuesday, accompanied by politicians, reporters, and police. The Mineo migrant center on Sicily, a former US military base, housed as many as 4,100 migrants in 2014, now, as Salvini triumphantly announced, it houses "zero."

The far-right interior minister, who also serves as Italy's deputy prime minister, said Mineo had been a center of "drugs, prostitution and violence." The 152 residents that were evicted from the site last week have been relocated to another center in Calabria. The Mineo center is now guarded by Italian soldiers.

Salvini spoke with reporters as he posed in front piles of discarded furniture and toured rooms filled with belongings left by former inhabitants, telling them that police had found that Italian and Nigerian mafias had "expanded as a drug-dealing operation in the whole local area."

DW reporter Amien Essif said some local people came out to protest against the camp's closure and the loss of jobs it provided to the community.


Italy: Matteo Salvini Shuts Down Europes' Largest Migrant Center





'A beautiful morning'

During a short press conference, Salvini said, "Mineo is closing and it's a beautiful morning." He also noted that he had written to his Tunisian counterpart to urge him to stem the flow of migrants departing from the North African country and to take back those Tunisians that Italy turns away as quickly as possible.

Some 3,126 migrants have arrived in Italy since the beginning of 2019. Most of them have been from Tunisia, followed by Algeria, Bangladesh, Iraq, Ivory Coast, and Pakistan.

Italy intends to invest more heavily in resisting migrant arrivals by sea, and on Monday Salvini announced his desire to deploy military ships and air patrols to keep migrants away from Italy.

The country will also give 10 motorboats to the Libyan coastguard so that smugglers' vessels can be caught before they get to international waters.

Over the past several months, migrant arrivals have seen an uptick, as smugglers drag overloaded boats out into international waters where migrants are often rescued by charity vessels or national authorities.

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