The Italian immigration problem. Is there a way to solve it?

Everyone knows what is happening in the Mediterranean coast of Italy. Many boats are bringing thousands of refugees, who escape from the war in Syria and the previous tense situations in northern Africa and the Middle East. But locals are not happy with this situation. Italy is facing a rough period for what concerns economy and employment, and racism is starting to rise again towards those people who come and seek for help in another reality. But what should people do to regulate this? Why people from those countries come to Italy instead of other Mediterranean countries? 

Italy has always been very welcoming to migrants. Not because it’s one of those welfare states where people get a lot of privileges, not even because there is a big offer of employment (but rather of unemployment lately). The immigration law has been very tough since years, but the way it is enforced is not always the same. We have those so-called “CID” (Centers for Identification and Deportation) which “welcome” hundreds of refugees who arrive without documents to our country, although those centres do not offer good accommodation, according to what people say, and many refugees who are there say it’s like a prison and try to escape from them or start riots to make the media show how it is like to live there.
However, illegal immigration is considered illegal in any country of this world, even if recently the 5 Star Movement proposed to abolish the crime of illegal immigration in Italy, because it caused inconvenience and costs, although citizens of Italy are very upset about this.

According to many leading voices, the Lampedusa tragedy that happened in October should make Italians feel ashamed for all those migrants who died while attempting to migrate illegally in our country, or most probably killed by those criminals whom they were entrusted to cross the Mediterranean. Although it’s not Italy’s fault, like many people in bad faith who start to complain every time a big flow of illegals land in our southern shores think. Now, the term “illegals” is not accepted anymore, and people refer to them as “migrants”, without making differences with those who actually arrive to Italy with a passport and a valid visa.

Our Marine Corps, together with other State Corps save lives in the Mediterranean almost every day. How many? Over 5 thousand this year, and around 100-120 thousand in the last ten years, like the Ministry of Defence of Italy stated. No other naval force in the Mediterranean does the same.

The reason of embarassment is given by politicians, because they face a serious national emergency with a worrying amateurism.
They are good at shedding tears and shouting slogans which are pretty dangerous, but they are totally unable at defending the territory and the national interests in front of the North African countries, Europe, the criminal organizations and moreover, the Italian citizens.
The reception policy that has been reiterated in these days by almost all the political forces will only cause other mass exodus to our shores for the joy of the Northafrican mafias that operate those trade of “slaves” like black people are still called by some Northafrican arabs. Italy is today the main “partner” of these unscrupulous organizations that get thousands of Euros from each migrant, place a load of human beings in every floating (or semi-floating) wagon taking care of distributing women in an advanced state of pregnancy and children, aware that their presence will facilitate the admission in the Italian territory. This is confirmed by the progressive increase in arrivals after the statements of the Italian government representatives, none of which seems to have strong nerves to handle the emergency with more realism and less talk and tears.
The premier Enrico Letta not only is ashamed of the dead found in the sea, like it were his fault or Italy’s, but is also upset with the prosecutor who indicted the survivors of the shipwrecks for “illegal immigration”, an act that is considered a crime in Italy as well as in the rest of the world (the most severe penalties are actually applied in the northern African countries!) even if Letta said that he would abolish it. A declaration that encourages the trade and human traffickers. Criminals who will soon have many new clients and received an incentive to their business also by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who said “Patrolling the Mediterranean should allow to save more migrants who are crossing the sea, and not keep them to die in Libya or force them to stay in Eritrea”.

Even the state funerals of the survivors sound like to be over the top, a symptom of some kind of confusion between mercy and state. Conferring the same honors accorded to Italian soldiers killed in battles to those who died breaking the law will not make less severe the tragedy that is happening in the Sicily Channel as well as the “humanitarian mission” that the government is launching will end up multiplying the size of the problem. It will increase the access of illegal immigrants as well as the business of those traffickers who can also save on the fuel of the floating wagons when the Italian Navy will take them off the coast of Libya.

With a little bit of pragmatism it is clear that the actual emergency can be solved only by rejecting immigrants on the north African coasts where the UN, the EU and other international organizations, religious organizations and such will be able to provide humanitarian assistance, unless criminals and rebels prevent them to do so.
An operation that would not exclude the risk of tragedies like the ones happening in Lampedusa, but in a short time it would discourage the illegal migration flows and reset the business of the human traffickers. Only in this way we can save lives and prevent sinkings offshore, while Italy could claim the areonautical and financial contribution from Europe to deal with the costs. After all, Europe is absent on all this and the alternatives to rejections are just pure demagoguery.

Turning all immigrants to “refugees” who may apply for asylum would magnify the phenomenon because many Africans would be happy to “do the refugees” in Italy. Or in a Europe which has become the World Champion in false morality, which reburks Italy if it ever dares to reject a “migrant”, but it can’t stand that some of those migrants who landed in Italy reach Nice or Berlin. Of course we are all aware that the inadequacy of the Italian political class enables Europe to fool them but nobody has ever explained why the other Mediterranean States can discourage illegal immigration with rejects while Italy doesn’t. Do Greece, Cyprus and Malta have a greater importance in Brussels than Rome?

Even abrogate the crime of illegal immigration would boost the problem. We would be the only country in the world to give up the claim to identify who crosses our borders. If we delete the theft crime, thieves won’t disappear (even if the next indult will give freedom to many of those at lower costs for the State – but not for citizens – than building new prisons with more decent accommodation).
Even all the rumors, in vogue in these days, which would like interventions in African countries to stabilize and prevent immigration are just nonsense talk.
We didn’t manage to send a handful of aircraft to support the French in Mali and someone really think to send troops to stabilize Libya, Somalia and Eritrea?

It’s useless to count on help from African governments. In Somalia they are fighting for 30 years and the Eritrean regime is committed to increasing the exodus of its citizens because it imposes a “tax” to emigrants, based on their incomes, blackmailing them with the thread of reprisals on relatives back in Eritrea.
The “sensitivity” of African governments towards their citizens’ lives has also been criticized by Human Rights Watch. “The African Union should have as a priority on its agenda the solution to the crisis in Somalia and Eritrea, after the Lampedusa tragedy, and in general how to reduce the outflow of migrants from conflicts and hunger instead of worrying only to protect a handful of powerful people” is written in a statement from HRW, after the African Union summit which asked to reform the procedures of the UN International Criminal Court which is prosecuting several African leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

North Africans instead have been fooling us for years already, due to governments which are powerless or in collusion with the criminal organizations that manage the human trafficking.
In front of the arrival of hundreds of illegal migrants in Lampedusa every day, the Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan declared that Libya did not “open wide the doors” to the problem of immigration, assuring that his government will everything possible to keep track of the points of departure of the boats, in ports like Zuara and Misurata.
Although, Zeidan does not even have control over the hotel room in Tripoli where he lives (and where the islamic militians kidnapped him for some hours last month), let alone distant cities under the supervision of local gangs. The Prime Minister has not lost the opportunity to ask for help to Europe to train the coast guards and have access to the satellite system to monitor the borders. This seems like the series of economic requests alternated to the mass of migrants sent by Muammar Gaddafi in the past years, with whom we had found an agreement, before he was overthrown and killed.

This year Italy spends almost 18 million Euros to assist and train Libyan forces, among which the 7,5 million Euros spent to finance the maintenance of the patrol boats given to the Libyan Coast Guard by the Italian Guardia di Finanza to contrast the flow of illegal immigrants. Of these boats three have been destroyed during the 2011 war and the other three have become “stealth” – they have never been used for the purpose they were designed to, but they have seen on the Mediterranean to board Italian fishing vessels on international waters.
The same features characterize the three patrol boats given last year to Tunisia which cost 25 million Euros to the Italian taxpayers. The last use of this boat was on September 20 to capture a fishing vessel sailing 70miles from the Tunisian coast, as reported by the Navy who tried unsuccessfully to prevent its capture by sending a helicopter.

While the Sicilian fishermen have to pay a “redemption” to release fishing boats and crews, the Italian government has allocated 220 million Euros for the immigration emergency that sound like a slap in the face to Italian citizens who are overcharged and progressively deprived of social services and security. The concrete reality, that policy does not seem to be able to see, is that Italy cannot afford the luxury to welcome ten thousands (for now) illegal immigrants. This is not a political issue (the center-right wing, as well as Lega Nord party now are ranting but in 2011 they welcomed, in addition to Libyan refugees, 24 thousand Tunisians which had nothing to do with the Libyan war) but an economic and social one.
With 13% of unemployment, the GDP “dropping like it’s hot”, millions of people who scarcely have enough to live on and many retirees who put together lunch and dinner only thanks to the Caritas refectories, in Italy we wouldn’t need regular migrants, let alone the illegal ones.

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