Rome mayor Virginia Raggi called for a “moratorium” on new arrivals, saying, “I find it impossible, as well as risky, to think up further accommodation structures.”
The mayor, a member of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement political party, explained that she made the request because of the “strong migratory presence” in Rome and “the continued influx of foreign citizens.” It is not yet clear how long the temporary ban will last.
According to Italian figures published in January 2016, roughly 364,600 foreign-born people live in Rome, representing about 13 percent of its population. The 2016 census reported that Italy has a population of about 60.5 million, but it has been experiencing a steady flow of African and Middle Eastern migration from Libya in recent years.
Approximately 8 percent of Italy’s total population are foreigners, and that number has risen 6.2 points since the year 2000.
Raggi labeled refugee camps in May as “feeding trough[s] to the mafia,” a reference to previous administrations accused of collaborating with criminal gangs to profit from funds meant to help those living in the camps.
“Now in Rome, things are changing,” Beppe Grillo, leader of the Five Star Movement party, said Tuesday after the announcement.
President Trump gets raked over the coals for a advocating a similar policy but the world is strangely silent when a female populist pushes the same policy for Italians.
Grillo, an Italian comedic star, has become one of the most powerful politicians in Italy His Five Star Movement has shocked the establishment by pushing a “sovereignist” line which includes a possible withdrawal from NATO, dismantling trade agreements like the TPP, and ditching the EU, replacing it with a grouping of southern Mediterranean countries. Five Star Movement also supports severely limiting immigration to Italy.
The Italian government ignores this request at their own peril.