The flood of immigrants to Italy is reaching large and unexpected proportions. In 2017, the number of migrants coming to the country increased by 21 percent. An increase of 8 percent occurred between May and June alone. Within four days in late June, over 12,000 immigrants reached southern Italian ports. Then, on July 15, over half of that number was rescued from the Mediterranean sea.
On July 16, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said government will not push the controversial immigration bill. The legislation from the left-leaning Democratic Party would give citizenship to children who arrive in Italy before the age of 12.
Gentiloni told the Italian news outlet La Repubblica that he was still committed to passing the bill in the fall, and did not admit that the current migration surge had anything to do with the delay. However, Matteo Salvini (the leader of the right-wing party which opposes the bill), declared victory in a Facebook post.
Most migrants cross the Mediterranean sea to Italy from Libya, the majority of which from Guinea, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Bangladesh. This path to Europe has caused such a swell in immigration, that the European Union is now limiting the number of inflatable boats exported to Libya, in an attempt to discourage passage to Italy and France.
Currently, there are 2.5 immigrants per every 1,000 people in Italy.
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