Last week, the Italian government announced that it will work to cut the number of unskilled immigrants. About 24,241 illegal immigrants came to Italy between January and September of this year, reflecting a massive influx to the country.
In July, the Italian government declared a state of emergency due to the high level of illegal immigration, largely from Africa. The following month, soldiers were deployed across the country in an effort to stop crime that has been blamed on illegal immigrants. Even the pope has weighed in on the issue.
More than 3.5 million foreign-born people currently live in Italy.
Worldfocus correspondent Martin Seemungal heads to the northern town of Treviso, where gunslinging mayor Giancarlo Gentilini has brought order to the town and cracked down on illegal immigration, even as accusations of racism linger.
Below, bloggers in Italy and around the world assess the country’s debate on immigration.
The “(We) Can Do Better” blog warns that “Italians are doomed to extinction,” arguing that crime and immigration are twin issues and that the battle for Italian civilization is already lost.
Blogger “Mohammad” suggests that the Italian people are not aware of the reality of immigration, in part because politicians have misused the issue.
The “Roma Rights Network,” written on behalf of the Romani people (many of whom live in camps outside of major Italian cities), claims that Mayor Gentilini has a history of racism and that too many are following his lead.
“The Mandarin” blog criticizes Gentilini’s forced removal of Chinese lanterns from restaurants in Treviso, given that the Chinese contributed greatly to Italian cuisine.
The “Mikeb302000” blog calls the Berlusconi government’s deployment of military forces in cities a “transparent attempt” to appease xenophobic constituents, while the “Digger’s Realm” blog calls the move a “good start” and praises the prime minister‘s stance on immigration.
Blogger “Gabriele,” an Italian currently in Singapore, writes that the three “I’s” of Italy are ignorance, intolerance and injustice, claiming that the country is missing out on the opportunities of a multi-ethnic society.