The head of Italy's Civil Protection department, Franco Gabrielli, issued a directive Dec. 31 instructing police stations nationwide to take "extraordinary action" to identify and deport migrants, Reuters reported. An anonymous government source also indicated that the Interior Ministry intends to open a number of new detention centers in compliance with EU member state requests. This is the first major policy change made by Italy's new government. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni assumed office Dec. 14 following the resignation of his predecessor Matteo Renzi. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, around 180,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea over the past year using the central Mediterranean migration route from North Africa. This is up from the approximately 154,000 in 2015, and confirms that Italy has surpassed Greece as the EU country with the highest number of arrivals from the Mediterranean. The perpetrator in the Berlin Christmas market attack originally arrived in Italy in 2011 before being ordered to leave the country in 2015.
Italy: Government Orders Stepped Up Efforts To Deport Migrants