Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has announced the next phase of his administration's crackdown on illegal migration – a rapid escalation of deportations.
Government figures for the month of August reveal a 65% drop in boat landings by migrants on Italian shores from the same period in 2017, according to Il Giornale, indicating Salvini's aggressive approach to mitigating the crisis in the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of his country is working.
"Now we are working to increase expulsions, something that those who preceded me unfortunately did not," Salvini said, asserting that while his predecessors would have cited the latest data as a full solution, it is just the beginning for him.
"'We stopped the landings, the emergency is over,' the Democratic party would say. With our government we are demonstrating that we can do more and better," he continued. "I don't know what the person before me was doing with his time."
Salvini, who has held landmark meetings in Africa since taking office in June, also announced that new bi-lateral agreements are being solidified with some migrants' countries of origin, which are intended to facilitate a smoother deportation process in many cases.
"Italy must be the protagonist of the process of stabilization of the Mediterranean," he said earlier this week. "The incursions of others who have economic interests must not prevail over the common good that is peace."
While campaigning for office, Salvini vowed to deport 500,000 migrants from Italy during his tenure, a promise that many of his constituents would likely hope to see fulfilled.
"There are half a million irregular migrants in Italy," he said in January. "All of them need to be sent home."
(PHOTO: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)