Migrants walk alongside the Roja river, near Ventimiglia, towards the French border | Photo: ANSA/Chiara Carenini
Migrants walk alongside the Roja river, near Ventimiglia, towards the French border | Photo: ANSA/Chiara Carenini

A new permanent center for migrants is set to open in the Italian town of Ventimiglia, near the border with France. In recent weeks about 90 people have been arriving in the town every day, hoping to reach French territory.

A permanent hosting center for migrants will open in the Italian border city of Ventimiglia, local authorities said this week. The decision was announced after a meeting at the prefecture of the Liguria city of Imperia, which was attended by Prefect Francesca Ferrandino, the head of the interior ministry's department of immigration and civil liberties, Mayor Gaetano Scullino and Prefect Armando Nanei.

As well as the permanent facility, a temporary center will also be set up to host the growing number of migrants expected to arrive over the summer, authorities said. The temporary hosting center of Parco Roja was closed in July 2020.

Over the past few weeks, an average of 90 people have arrived on a daily basis, mainly families, they said.

Immediate, long-term answers necessary

The permanent center will be in the city's Mortola district, while the temporary facility could be set up in the area of Parco Roya. "We have examined the unavoidable fact that Ventimiglia must manage the phenomenon, something which doesn't allow us to look the other way and requires immediate action as well as a medium and long-term commitment", said Ferrandino.

The area originally identified by the mayor of Ventimiglia to open the facility is being examined by the immigration department, regional and provincial authorities.

Prefect Nanei added that he will work with the mayor to "first find a temporary solution and subsequently a more stable and long-term situation."

90% are irregular migrants

Mayor Scullino has asked the interior ministry to provide buses to take undocumented migrants to repatriation centers, including those arriving from France. "Figures tell us today that 90% of people who arrive in Ventimiglia are irregular," he said. "They want to cross French territory, but not remain in France."

He went on to say that "stopping people in transit is not simple, but Ventimiglia can't pay such a high price on its own. As mayor, I hope the problem will be at least governed, if not solved for good."

The mayor and prefect will inspect areas in the city to look for an appropriate location for the temporary center.

 

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