One of Italy’s new breed of leaders is laying down the law to the migrants who have flooding the southern European nation in recent years.
“The free ride is over,” Matteo Salvini, Italy’s recently named interior minister, warned migrants at a rally on Saturday, according to The Associated Press. “It’s time to pack your bags.”
On Friday, hours after he was sworn in, Salvini made his position, and that of the government in which he serves, crystal clear.
“Open doors in Italy for good people and a one-way ticket for those who come to Italy to create commotion and think they will be taken care of. ‘Send them home’ will be one of our top priorities,” he said, according to The U.K. Guardian.
Salvini said that the new Italian government will need to work with other nations to reduce the flow of migrants to Italy.
“We have to improve deals with countries of origin,” he said Saturday, per The U.K. Sun.
“Countries need to start doing their job and no more smugglers should be docking in Italian ports,” he said.
Italian leaders have complained that the agencies allegedly rescuing migrants are in league with those who traffic in humans.
More than 13,500 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, France 24 reported, including 150 who arrived in Sicily days ahead of Salvini’s scheduled appearance there on Sunday.
Salvini said migrants are straining Italy’s budget.
“Five billion euros to look after migrants that live in Italy and receive breakfast, lunch and dinner is way too much, let’s see if we can cut it,” he said Friday, according to The U.K. Telegraph.
Salvini has said he wants to deport 500,000 migrants, and convert centers now used as reception areas for migrants into detention centers to hold them until they are deported.
He has vowed to shift funds in the budget to cover the cost of those deportations.
The former talk show host is one of the new ministers who are part of the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Italy’s new populist government is not universally welcomed in Europe.
“Italy is destroying itself — and dragging down Europe with it,” Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine proclaimed in a headline. Its cover showed a forkful of spaghetti with one dangling strand tied up as a noose, The Sun reported.
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