The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, has asked the Italian government to temporarily halt immigration to the city.

In a letter reportedly sent to Paola Basilone, the prefect of Rome, Raggi (pictured) called for a “moratorium” on new arrivals and said: “I find it impossible, as well as risky, to think up further accommodation structures.”

The mayor, a member of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement political party, explained she was making the request because of the “strong migratory presence” in Rome and “the continued influx of foreign citizens”.

It’s not clear how long the temporary ban, reported by, would last.

According to the most recent figures published in Italy on January 1, 2016, there were 364,632 foreign-born people registered as living in Rome, which has a metropolitan population of about 4.35 million. Foreigners represent about eight per cent of its population.

According to the 2016 census, Italy has a population of about 60.5 million. However, it has experienced a steady flow of African and Middle Eastern migration from Libya in recent years, almost certainly blurring the true picture of how many people live in the country.

Figures released by the National Institute for Statistics in Italy (Istat) today state that more than five million people living in the country are foreign-born – equivalent to about 8.3 percent of the national population.

About half of Rome’s foreign-born population is from Europe, with Romania the best represented country.

On a national level, European immigrants are thought to account for more than 50 percent of the total foreign-born population.

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