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Italy's Berlusconi vows to deport 600,000 undocumented immigrants

By Ray Downs
Italy's Berlusconi vows to deport 600,000 undocumented immigrants
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives for a welcoming ceremony at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, February 1, 2010. n Monday, Berlusconi said his party would deport 600,000 immigrants if they regain power after next month's elections. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said 600,000 undocumented immigrants could be deported if his party regains power after elections next month.

Speaking during a TV interview on Monday, Berlusconi said immigration was a "social bomb ready to explode in Italy," the Guardian reported.

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"Immigration has become an urgent question, because after years with a left-wing government, there are 600,000 migrants who don't have the right to stay," Berlusconi said. "We consider it to be an absolute priority to regain control over the situation."

Berlusconi, 81, is prohibited from running for office until 2019 after getting convicted for tax fraud in 2013. But he still maintains influence over his Forza Italia party, which is attempting to form a coalition government with other right-wing parties when Italians take to the polls on March 4.

Berlusconi's comments come just two days after an Italian Nazi allegedly shot six African migrants.

The suspect, 28-year-old Luca Traini, had previously run -- and lost -- for elected office as a member of one of the far-right parties Berlusconi's Forza Italia is attempting to form a coalition with, Express reported.

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Berlusconi said that if his party wins next month, he would increase security, including putting troops in the streets.

"When we're in government we will invest many resources in security," he said. "We will boost police presence and reintroduce the 'Safe Streets' initiative...Our soldiers will patrol the streets alongside police officers."

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