The number of immigrants arriving illegally by boat on the shores of Italy since the start of this year is down on the same period in 2006 according to interior ministry figures. As of 28 August the number of arrivals stood at 12,419, against 14,511 last year. The main route for immigrants attempting the illegal sea crossing into Italy continues to be Libya-Lampedusa across the Sicilian Channel, although there has been an increase in the number of people landing in Sardinia (960 so far this year, almost all from Algeria). Most of the arrivals are deemed to be economic migrants and are put into detention centres pending deportation. Only a small number apply for political asylum. The figures do not take into account the dozens of immigrants who have drowned during the crossing and whose bodies are often never recovered.
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