September 27, 2022

Populist Italian Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, claimed that just 15% of illegal immigrants who came to Italy in 2021 were granted refugee status and more than half were refused asylum.

Salvini, who has made illegal immigration one of his top priorities ahead of next month’s national election, said that in 2021, 56 percent of the 52,987 asylum requests submitted last year would be rejected by Italian authorities.

The League leader said the rejections come “despite the fact that the left has brought back special and humanitarian protections to offer shortcuts to those who land in Italy” and added, “only 8,107 people have been granted refugee status: 15% of the total applications received were examined”, newspaper Il Giornale References.

Salvini personally visited the island of Lampedusa this week, which has been overwhelmed by illegal migrant arrivals and its reception centre, meant to accommodate 350 people at a time, has taken in up to 1,800.

Salvini had previously blamed Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, a member of the left-wing Democratic Party (PD), for the situation and called it “the shame of the Democratic Party: we can’t wait to turn the page, thanks to the vote of the Italians on September 25”.

In 2018 and 2019 Salvini served as interior minister and his tough policies, which banned migrant taxi NGO boats from Italian ports, were credited with significantly reducing illegal immigration and reducing drowning deaths in the Mediterranean.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the number of illegal arrivals in July alone this year exceeded the total for the whole of 2019, with 13,197 migrants disembarked in Italy last month.

“In July this year, we surpassed the landings recorded in all of 2019. We look forward to returning to the government to take care of Italy’s work, security and defense,” Salvini said, adding, “We need a minister ready. To defend the border, we owe it out of respect to the Italians who are facing difficulties.”

The polls put Salvini’s League very back their centre-right coalition allies, the national-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) led by social conservative core Giorgia Meloni, who could become the country’s new prime minister.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia is also part of the centre-right alliance, said he was open to Meloni becoming Italy’s next leader, while foreign media such as Washington Post newspaper tried to Meloni link and her party to fascism.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email ctomlinson(at)

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