According to official reports, during the year 2016, only 2.65 percent of those immigrating into Italy were awarded asylum as refugees, with the vast majority staying on in the country as illegal, undocumented immigrants.
According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), a total of 181,436 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Italy during 2016, a record year in recent history. This figure does not include those who were able to enter the country undetected, but only those who were officially registered either by Italian officials or NGOs.
Of these, only 4,808 were recognized as refugees and awarded asylum in Italy, a mere 2.65 percent of the total number of those making the crossing. A disturbing statistic that has recently come to light reveals that half of the migrants arriving in the country (90,334) never even requested asylum, but disappeared into the country as undocumented immigrants, commonly referred to by the Italians as “clandestini.”
The remaining 91,902 migrants applied for asylum, and 60 percent of these (54,252) had their petitions rejected unconditionally. Another 21 percent (18,979) were awarded “humanitarian protection,” allowing them a renewable yearly permission to remain in the country, and 14 percent more (12,873) were given “subsidiary protection.”
The 4,808 immigrants who were awarded asylum represent 5.28 percent of the asylum seekers and therefore only 2.65 percent of the total number of immigrants entering in the country during the year. Despite the fact that the vast majority of immigrants into Italy were denied asylum, fewer than 5,000 were deported in 2016, meaning that more than 175,000 remained in the country, most of them illegally.
Despite last year’s record immigration into Italy, the first quarter of 2017 registered a 30 percent jump compared with the same period in 2016. Shortly afterward, Italy received another 8,500 migrants in a single weekend as migrants poured into the country over Easter.
The leader of the Northern League (La Lega) political party, Matteo Salvini, announced that he would bring a case against government leaders for promotion of illegal immigration into the country.
“It is now clear that illegal immigration is organized and financed and for this reason we have decided to bring a case against the government, the President of the Council, the ministers and the commanders of the Navy and the Coast Guard,” Salvini said.