The NGO vessel Aquarius and two Italian escort ships have reached Valencia, Spain, amid international controversy, and unloaded 630 migrants - 450 of whom are adult men.
While mainstream media and open borders advocates have played to emotion in stressing the plight of the "stranded" females, children and pregnant women aboard the Aquarius, over 71% of those 'rescued' are able-bodied males abandoning mostly stable homelands.
Authorities have released basic demographic data on the predominantly African passengers who hail from 26 countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Italy sent shockwaves through the European liberal order when new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared that the ‘research vessel,’ known for ferrying migrants from Africa to Europe under the dubious claims that the non-governmental organizations operating it are ‘rescuing refugees’ stranded at sea, was not allowed to dock in any Italian port.
Observers have pointed out that Tunis, Tunisia, would have been the closest ‘safe port’ for the migrants, who were picked up off the coast of Libya, but instead they were transported to Spain - a journey of nearly 1,000 miles spanning nine days.
Over 2,000 activists and cheering locals were on hand to welcome their new neighbors, including 470 translators, local media reports.
A banner reading “Welcome Home” in a variety of languages, including Arabic, greeted the migrants in port.
"Today is a historic day," said Spanish priest Angel Garcia Rodriguez. “It will be hard for Spaniards not to smile when they see these children disembark.”
Valencia’s semi-autonomous government recently approved measures that could qualify the migrants for a monthly stipend of 495 euros, as well as free ‘universal health cards.’
Meanwhile, Salvini heralded the event as a sign of progress for Italy.
"For the first time a ship from Libya and destined to Italy moors in a different country: a sign that something is changing, we are no longer the doormats of Europe," Salvini tweeted.
Salvini also took a humorous shot at an NGO activist who called him a "fascist."
Questo signore è nell’equipaggio della nave della Ong tedesca che, in attesa di caricare immigrati, mi dà del “fascista”... Rassicurante direi!😁 pic.twitter.com/4L5UAEizJS— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) June 16, 2018
"This gentleman is in the crew of the ship of the German NGO who, waiting to load immigrants, gives me the 'fascist'... Reassuring I would say!" Salvini joked.
(PHOTO: PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)