Italy wants the EU to give more money to the bloc’s border control agency after some 300 migrants drowned off the coast of Lampedusa earlier this month.
Rome will push for more funds at next week’s EU summit.
“We will ask for a reform of Frontex. We need to strengthen Frontex but so it has a more humanitarian approach. As Italy has started to do, and we will ask Europe to do the same,” said Cécile Kyenge Kashetu, the Italian minister for immigration.
Kashetu was in Brussels to discuss with MEPs how illegal immigrants are treated in Europe.
EU law states they may be held in detention centres for up to 18 months.
Campaigners say conditions can be horrific.
Sister Eugenia Bonetta of Slaves No More said that migrants “can stay to a year and half. It is really unbearable, a kind of psychological torture, where the individual becomes a nobody.”
The European Commission is currently preparing a report on how EU law is being applied on this issue.
The legislation states that, in fact, detention is only meant to be used as a last resort.
National governments are supposed to encourage more migrants to leave voluntarily.