Italy’s migrant welcome centers are in a state of “collapse” as huge waves of African migrants take advantage of the temperate climate to make the crossing from Libya to the Italian peninsula.
On Tuesday, 8,500 African migrants are reaching Italian shores aboard 14 different ships, adding to the 5,000 who arrived on Monday. The massive arrivals have led local media as well as politicians to speak of an authentic immigrant “invasion” exceeding the country’s capacity of assimilation.
Officials reported on June 15 that more than 65,000 migrants had arrived since the beginning of the year, but that was prior to the latest influx. Figures for the year now stand at 73,380 migrants into Italy, or a rise of 14.42 percent over the same period in 2016, when then-record arrivals had reached 64,133.
The exodus from Libya to the Italian coast has continuing unabated with no visible action on the part of the Italian government or the European Union to halt it.
The illegal immigrants who reach the Libyan coast from all parts of Africa (most recently, from the West), embark in the Mediterranean on makeshift boats. The majority of these are picked up either by NGOs or humanitarian organizations or official Italian Coast Guard or naval vessels.
Despite their intention to travel up through Italy into northern Europe, the vast majority of migrants end up remaining in Italy, mostly because the northern borders with France, Switzerland and Austria are closely watched.