Italy's deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has insisted it will take 80 years to expel migrants to their countries of origin due to a lack of progress over repatriation efforts between states. As Daily Express writes in the article Italy migration CRISIS: Salvini warns expelling illegal migrants will take 80 years, Mr Salvini, leader of Italy's far-right anti-immigration League party, promised to repatriate 100,000 immigrants during his first year in office, but retreated his pledge today. He told Italian radio station RTL: “The way things are today we’ll need 80 years to expel them all.”
The deputy Prime Minister has declared plans to deport majority of migrants trying to enter Italy - with or without the EU's help - insisting Rome "only has room for migrants fleeing war". Speaking to the BBC, he said: "Brussels has been promising us help and assistance for years and has been doing nothing." Mr Salvini has a long-standing stance against immigration, and continues to lash out against migrants arriving in Italy.
This year, a total of 4,269 illegal immigrants were either flown or shipped back to their countries of origin while another 11,411 were expelled but remain are unaccounted for.
Italy's coalition government has not established repatriation deals with many countries, making it difficult to ship immigrants back to their countries of origin. Up to 80 migrants a week are flown back from Italy to Tunisia, as the North African state remains one of the few countries on a successful repatriation deal with Rome.
Tunisia brought in the highest number of migrants to Rome this year, after more than 4,000 arrived by boat to the island of Lampedusa.
The EU has implemented regulations to prevent the influx of migrants to Italy's borders, employing a Libyan coastguard to stop ships from sailing towars Libyan's borders. However, Libya's coastguards are no longer patrolling seas, according to Italy newspaper Corriere della Sera, amid violent clashes in the country's capital. Last week, tensions escalated in Libya's capital, Tripoli, as thousands of refugees escaped from detention centres. The UN has suggested migrants might set sail for Italy in a bid to escape the violent clashes. UN's new high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet recently deployed a team of peacemakers to Italy over reports of a rise in racist attacks.
Mr Salvini lashed out at UN's decision, and said: “Therefore we take lessons from no one, especially not the UN, which has proved itself to be biased, uselessly expensive and poorly informed. The police have denied that there is alarm over racism.”
The Italian far-right minister caused world-wide controversy earlier this month, after he refused to accept a rescue ship, The Aquarius, carrying 630 migrants on board. In his most recent scandal, Sicillian authorities accused Mr Salvini of kidnapping people aboard another migrant boat, the Diciotti vessel, after 50 of them disappeared in Italy. Mr Salving reportedly refused to allow more than 100 of the rescued migrants to dock until the EU took some of them. At the time of the stand-off he said: "Either Europe begins to seriously defend its borders and shares the relocation of immigrants, or we will start taking them back to the port that they left. "Italy has already done its duty, and when it's too much, it's too much."