CAIRO:Immigration Minister Nabila Makram left to Italy Tuesday in a five-day visit to meet 560 migrant Egyptian children and discuss illegal immigration.
“Illegal immigration undermines national security,” Makram stated to reporters before travelling.
“I seek a comprehensive plan to curb illegal immigration in coordination with all [related] entities inside and outside Egypt,” she added.
Representatives from Interior Ministry, the Supreme Committee on Combating Illegal Immigration and the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood are accompanying the minister to “allow concerned parties to closely inspect the details of the issue,” according to Makram.
The minister will also meet with the Italian interior and labor ministers.
A total of 560 Egyptian children arrived in Italy on a boat in October; they live in a shelter for children and are learning several crafts. In the same month, Egypt announced it would found a court specialized in human trafficking and illegal immigration.
Makram, who plans to hear the children’s stories, called for laws penalizing parents who put their children on migration boats and a crackdown on smugglers, saying that heavy security on shores is not enough.
Last week, Makram met with government and NGO officials in Minya, Upper Egypt, as it is origin of most Egyptian migrants.
Italy has deported hundreds of Egyptians who illegally arrived in its territories in the past months, while Egyptian border guards have arrested hundreds others, Egyptian and foreign, while attempting to sail to Italy.
In November and October, 2,825 people of different nationalities were arrested in illegal immigration attempts to Europe and Libya, according to military spokesperson Mohamed Samir.