The government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is facing a fierce backlash from their left-wing detractors after directing NGO ships carrying illegal migrants to ports in cities governed by pro-migration mayors, a move immediately compared to a policy ordered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,
As part of a recent security decree, authorities are now redirecting vessels that pick up migrants in the Mediterranean to ports located farther away from the search and rescue area, frequently opting for cities governed by leftist mayors.
Il Giornale reports that the decree has been met with opposition from the left-leaning Democratic Party and the mayors of the affected cities, both of whom argue the measures are excessive and go against the supposed advantages of mass illegal migration.
However, these concerns were rubbished by Wand Ferro, the undersecretary at Italy’s Interior Ministry, who said: “The left protests because NGO ships are finally disembarking in other regions of central Italy and no longer only in the South. Evidently, on the left, they would like to transform Calabria and Sicily into the refugee camp of Europe, a completely unacceptable prospect.”
Ferro stated that the asylum centers in southern Italy have faced persistent strain for years and that the government's action to alleviate that pressure amount to a necessary response.
She also dismissed the criticisms from NGOs who operate the migrant transport ships, pointing out that it is not unusual for these ships to keep refugees at sea for extended periods while waiting to pick up more migrants, adding that these ships have a tendency to take migrants to European ports instead of closer ports located in North Africa.
“Perhaps the left suffers from a sort of NIMBY [not in my backyard] syndrome, preaching welcome as long as it is away from their backyard,” Ferro continued.
However, NGOs who help facilitate these routes of illegal migration complained in a joint statement that the policy is hindering their efforts to save stranded migrants.
“Among other rules, the Italian government requires civilian rescue ships to head to Italy after each rescue immediately," the statement reads. "This delays further lifesaving operations, as ships usually carry out multiple rescues over the course of several days."
The policy of the Meloni conservative government, which came to power in last October's general election, immediately drew comparisons to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who last year sent illegal migrants to the wealthy, heavily liberal island enclave of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.
The move sparked outrage from wealthy residents, with local authorities opting to activate the National Guard in order to have the individuals quickly removed.