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European Country Mulls Immigration Crackdown As Hundreds Of Migrants Arrive On Its Shores

Italy’s government advanced plans to crack down on the surge of migration into the country by removing “special protection” status for migrants as hundreds arrived Monday on Sicily’s coast, according to The Associated Press.

The Italian Senate will decide this week on proposed legislation that the government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni urges to slow down the increasing numbers of incoming migrants that have reached the country’s southern coast since a state of emergency was declared last Monday, according to the AP. The legislation would terminate the permit for “special protection,” enacted in 2020, which allows migrants to stay in the country for two years and possibly renew their license.

The Italian prime minister last week issued a six-month state of emergency to cope with the high influx of migrants into the country by approving $5.5 million to the national emergency fund and sending migrants to be temporarily housed on commercial ferries.

Meloni asserted Saturday on Twitter that she favors eliminating “special protection status” for migrants, saying that this is “a further type of protection compared to what usually happens in the rest of Europe.”

Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian conservative party the League, also favors abolishing the “special protection” as he considers it a “pull factor” that attracts too many migrants not fully integrated into the country’s workforce, according to the AP. Salvini also stated Monday on Twitter that since 2020, more than 45,000 “special permits” have been released, of which only 6% of those permits have turned into work.

Other lawmakers have proposed to cut the permit’s duration from two years to six months, according to the AP. “It’s not so much a question of numbers, but of (sending) a signal of severity that we want to give,″ Italian Senator Maurizio Gasparri was quoted as saying in the Italian publication Corriere della Sera on Monday.

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