Italy has closed one of Europe’s largest migrant camps amid its tightening of legislation against housing asylum seekers.
The camp near Mineo, Sicily, was at some points home to up to 4,000 people, despite having a maximum capacity of half this figure.
It was formerly used as a US military residential complex with its spread of 400 redbrick houses, before becoming the Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers (CARA).
But new legislation, which was approved last year, means Italy can be more selective on the protection and housing it grants to migrants travelling into the country.
Asylum will continue to be granted to those fleeing warzones and political persecution, but will not be granted on further humanitarian grounds.
Such grounds will include people fleeing brutal laws in their home countries against their sexuality.
Live-streaming his walk through the empty camp on Tuesday, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the overpopulated centre had become a haven for crime, and he had kept his promise to Italy by closing it.
“This was a promise I made not only to the Sicilians but the Italians,” he said.
“The biggest migrant centre in Europe, a business of dozens and dozens of millions of Euros, and it had become, as proven by the prosecutor’s office, a centre base for the Nigerian mafia, for drug dealing, prostitution, theft and stolen goods, aggression, violence, rape and homicide in Palagonia, just a short distance from here.”
But the Mineo centre was also a great source for…