Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the migrant crisis in Europe. It has been the frontline of an army of uninvited migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya. Now Italy plans to start fining non-governmental organizations (NGOs) $6,150 for every migrant they bring ashore.
After Libya’s ruler Muammar Gadafi was toppled in 2011, with the aid of the Obama administration, the floodgates opened, and millions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East crossed the Mediterranean, landing on the shores of such states as Italy and Greece – if they did not drown on the way.
The European Union did nothing to stop the flood, and as a result E.U.-skeptic, anti-immigration populist parties in Italy surged in the polls. In the 2018 election, right-wing parties won nearly 70% of the votes. The two populist parties, Five Star Movement and League, won a majority and formed the government.
Officially, NGO ships off the coast of Libya are “rescuing” migrants from drowning. In practice, however, they are the laundering branch of a human trafficking operation, with a ferry service from North Africa to Italy for illegal immigrants. The NGOs are often in radio contact with the traffickers to arrange locations for pickup.
Liberty Nation brought attention to this practice in 2017 when a pan-European patriotic vigilante group blocked an NGO ship in Italy from leaving for a “rescue mission.” The same group bought a boat and decided to start rescuing migrants themselves – and returning them to Libya.
Now, the Italian government is taking the next logical step of fining NGOs for every illegal immigrant they bring to the country. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini warned the NGO ships that “they better not think of putting migrants on board. We’ll stop them by any means necessary.”
Naturally, such a move was met with massive opposition by open-border supporters. President of Doctors Without Borders Italy, Claudia Lodesani, said that “the new decree is threatening legal principles and the duty of saving lives. It is like fining ambulances for carrying patients to the hospital.”
Critics ignore the fact that NGO assistance contributes to the drowning of migrants at sea, by encouraging them to risk the trip. When Australia put an embargo on all migrants into its territory, the number of drownings dropped to near zero in a single year. That is ample evidence that what kills migrants is the promise of a ticket to the West, and the NGOs are the enablers.
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For now, the decree seems to have survived legal challenges, and populist parties are gaining traction all over Europe. In the upcoming E.U. parliament election, anti-establishment parties are expected to make a landslide. It is not a knockout victory for Salvini, but he appears to have won this round.
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