31 Dec 2008

Italy to start deporting immigrants immediately

6:41 am on 31 December 2008

Italy is to send back illegal immigrants who arrive on its shores, after an unexpected wave of arrivals around Christmas overwhelmed holding centres for migrants.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni says the first to go will be 38 Egyptians who will be flown to Cairo on Tuesday.

The number of illegal migrants who have arrived on Italian shores nearly doubled in the first seven months of the year, prompting the government to declare a nationwide state of emergency in July.

Some 2000 immigrants have arrived on the southern island of Lampedusa since Christmas.