Hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday pledged to "multiply' deportations of illegal immigrants after 1,491 boat migrants crossed to Italy from North Africa in August, a sharp fall from 4,317 in the same month last year.
"The (then-ruling centre-left) Democratic Party crowed at last year's August figures, claiming that the migration emergency was 'finished'," Salvini said.
"Our government is showing we can do more and do better. And now we want to multiply expulsions," Salvini said.
One of Salvini's electoral promises was to deport half a million illegal immigrants from Italy, where 700,000 boat migrants have arrived since 2014.