News | Sunday, 29 November 2009

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Frontex warns Malta, ‘Don’t advertise resettlements’

Officials from the EU’s border control agency Frontex have warned the Maltese authorities that publicity given to the recent agreements reached with the USA and other countries are being exploited by organised crime in Libya to market Malta as the destination to send asylum seekers and irregular immigrants.
The shocking revelation was reportedly made during a Frontex debriefing meeting held in Caltanisetta in Sicily, where military and governmental officials from EU Member States were given details about the recent Nautilus IV mission held in the Mediterranean during this summer, in a bid to contrast the flow of illegal immigrants.
Senior military sources told MaltaToday that Frontex officials spoke of intelligence that showed how criminals behind the lucrative illegal migration trade were “actually marketing Malta as the right destination to direct migrants,” given that it has now become public that the US is accepting migrants from Malta.
Frontex have reportedly warned the Maltese government that the publicity given to re-settlement agreements for migrants, is being immediately exploited by criminal gangs as the right “marketing tool” just like any travel agent would promote a destination to make more money.
Since the US embassy began its permanent refugee resettlement program in May 2008, over 320 refugees have been resettled to the US. The latest group of refugees were resettled in cities across the United States, including Denver, Atlanta, and Portland. Once they arrive in the USA, each refugee is assigned a sponsor agency that provides initial services such as housing, food, and clothing, as well as referral to medical care, employment services, and other support during a transition period lasting up to two years in order to ensure integration and assimilation.
The UK will be taking 10 immigrants from Malta under the EU pilot project for the resettlement of refugees. Britain will be joining France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia in assisting Malta with the problem. France was the first country to participate in the scheme with a pledge to take 100 refugees.

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