Left: Several migrants were left homeless after they were kicked out of a cow farm in Qormi last month
Opposition leader Adrian Delia has insisted the intention behind a controversial immigration speech was not to inflame public anger against foreigners but to highlight the state of Malta’s new poverty.
“The PN leader’s speech about the government’s lack of planning on immigration reflects public sentiment,” the PN said. “It is the obligation of a serious and mature Opposition to draw attention to the social, economic, environmental and infrastructural impact of mass immigration, in such a short period of time to an island with limited space and resources.”
The PN denied suggestions from a group of human rights NGOs and activists that Delia’s speech was inflammatory, pointing out that the PN leader had urged the authorities to save lives at sea, had condemned the exploitation of migrants who were forced to live in farms and on the streets, and had spoken positively about immigrants who integrate with Maltese people.
“However, he was also duty-bound to speak about the new poverty that is being created thanks to the government’s policy of rash population growth with no planning,” the PN said. “This is impacting both foreigners and Maltese, due to soaring rent prices and inadequate work conditions, leading to a new poverty which is in turn bringing about a rise in criminality.”
Meanwhile, PN MEP candidate Michael Briguglio – a renowned advocate for migrants’ rights – said respect for human dignity and a need for integration requires a sober, dignified and rational national discussion on the government’s immigration policies.
“To me this is what it means to be Maltese: To value what binds us, to adapt, to be resilient as we have been throughout history and to be equipped to meet the challenges of our times,” he said. In this regard, I emphasize that the Government of Malta is under-investing in areas such as language learning, social integration, urban social regeneration, security and solidarity. Instead it is fuelling an ‘anything goes’ economy, a race to the bottom and disrespect towards local communities.”
“To me social cohesion between dignified human beings comes both ways: Respect for diversity and respect towards common values that bind us together. We become stronger when we value everyone, whatever our origin and our destination. We are all human beings. Not just human resources.”