Italian troops to keep out boat people
Thursday 11 May 1995
Operation Salento is the latest indication that immigration is becoming an important political issue, and that Italy is determined to lose its reputation as an easy entry into Western Europe for the dispossessed from the east and south.
The growing influx is causing concern in a country unused to the racial and cultural diversity of France or Britain. Around 8,000 people have been caught trying to enter the country illegally since last October, and at least twice that number are believed to have made it into Italy undetected in the same period.
The army is working with the Albanian authorities, who have promised to check the movements of small boats and patrol their own coastline. Since the weekend, four naval ships have been guarding Durres.
It seems doubtful how long the show of force can go on. The business of transporting Albanians to Italy is lucrative, and nothing short of full naval blockade is likely to deter those determined to make the crossing.
Attitudes within Italy are slowly changing as immigrant numbers increase. In the past, it was possible for the average middle-class Italian not to notice the foreign presence, since the immigrants lived and worked in shacks on the remote outskirts of big towns.
Most are employed in sweatshops or as cheap labour on big fruit farms. But they are coming into the city centres, sometimes to hawk black-market goods; sometimes to wash windscreens and sell cigarette-lighters at traffic junctions.
Public reaction has focused on petty crime, boosting the appeal of the far-right National Alliance. Horror stories abound in the media. This week, police broke up a child-slavery ring in Milan in which boys as young as eight were being used to beg for their families back home. The families received 40 per cent of the takings; middle-men took the rest. The children had to fend for themselves, slept rough and scavenged for food. Twenty-nine were sent back home yesterday, while two of the middlemen were in police custody.
Another dramatic illustration of the plight of the immigrants came from the industrial town of Prato in Tuscany, where a gas explosion destroyed a shack on the site of a disused textiles factory and killed its four Albanian occupants. The immigrants, the shack and the gas point were all illegal - but the local police had turned a blind eye, perhaps because the 200-strong community provides a ready source of cheap labour.
- 1 Gun instructor accidentally shot dead by nine-year-old girl with Uzi gun
- 2 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 5 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
Kensington flat branded ‘uninhabitable’ by estate agent on sale for a bargain £600,000
Gun instructor accidentally shot dead by nine-year-old girl with Uzi gun
Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...
£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...