Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Italy’s Open Border Problem
by Stefania Lapenna
Sardinia, Italy -- A girl verbally insulted and then killed by a Slavic-speaking person who used the tip of an umbrella as a murder weapon . Dozens of villas assaulted by a mix of Morroccans, Romanians and Albanians in northern Italy. Shop owners murdered at random. This is but a part of the very long list of criminal events Italians learn about on an almost daily basis when they turn over the pages of newspapers or watch the morning and evening news. The common thread linking these crimes is the fact that all of the perpetrators were in Italy illegally.
In some ways, Italians were used to all this, apparently even resigned to living with illegal aliens’ crimes. Those unfamiliar with this country's complex mentality wonder why it is that no Italian government has ever taken serious steps against the illegal aliens. The main answer lies in the political parties' thirst for votes from them. A secondary answer is the permissiveness generated by the fear of being accused of intolerance or, even worse, racism. No one dares to suggest that at least 40% of prison inmates are not Italians.
Open borders for everyone has been the official policy followed by all kinds of governments, from left to center to right for more than a decade. While the previous government somehow attempted to put an end to the massive flow of undocumented people into the nation through the "Bossi-Fini law" (named after two ministers of the then Berlusconi cabinet), the Left's electoral program stated that one of its priorities (yes, priorities) was to eliminate that only partially successful legislation.
Upon taking office, Prime Minister Prodi appointed a communist to lead the newly-created Ministry of the "Immigration and Social Politics." That speaks volumes on how the new policy was going to be like. It took just two months after the new minister's announced plan for the invasion to start. About 200 illegals are flooding the south-western coasts of the island of Sardinia almost every week, coming mainly from Algeria and Morocco. All claim to be fleeing poverty and persecution, but nobody explains how come they can afford paying up to $6000 to smugglers in order to come to here. I don't know of any poor of this world who can afford to pay such sums.
Authorities are now complaining about the lack of adequate means to host these people in over-crowded temporary migrant holding centers and alerted about radical Islamic infiltration. Don't hold your breath: Prodi & Company can't care less; the incompetent premier declared he has no intention of changing the failed policy. For years, Italians have been always told the old lie according to which “our economy owes foreigners so much.” Really? Our economy is on a slow but unstoppable decline, as recent statistics show, and I don't think unskilled workers can lend a hand. Quite the opposite. Nevertheless, a wide-ranging bill aimed at allowing immigrants to settle here without first getting a job and holding a residency permit, was unveiled in March after months of preparation and was approved by the cabinet.
Ignoring public opinion at home, Prodi was the only European chief of government to allow Romanian citizens to enter Italy without visas. Not even dhimmi Spanish PM José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has ever had such an absurd idea. Following a spike in criminal offences by Romanian nationals that sparked a wave of outrage and anger all over the country, exasperated Italians are demanding firmness against immigrants in order for general security to be granted.
Over two weeks ago, on the aftermath of the horrific assassination of a navy officer's wife who was walking along a secluded avenue in Rome, an emergency decree signed by the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano was issued, in which the police chief was instructed to identify aliens deemed a threat to national security because of their record and past convictions. Despite official propaganda showing buses full of Romanian gypsies leaving Italy, only two hundred people were deported of the thousands previously listed for expulsion. How about every single foreigner continuously breaking the law by living here illegally?
With State authorities failing to defend scared Italian citizens, local governors started taking matters into their own hands. The center-left wing mayor of Florence risked losing communist support for imposing fines on unlicensed window cleaners, after drivers complained about harassment and veiled threats. Padua's leftist municipality built a fence to isolate groups of drug traffickers from a residential area. The most significant decision of all has been the one taken by the mayor of a north-eastern town (a militant of the Northern League, a movement not to proud of) who bravely issued a legislation that literally says: "Those who have no work and housing permit aren't welcome and are urged to leave our town." You need to have guts to say these things in Italy.
I am following the American presidential debates and thus far I have not seen any Republican candidate willing to commit himself to a radical, not soft, reform of the immigration policy. Worse, some are either in favor of amnesty for illegals, or they have been so in the recent past. It seems to me that both Democrats and Republicans, with the exception of few, have no clue of how future is going to be like as consequence of a lack of concrete action.
The US has always been example of a nation that holds law breakers accountable and this has contributed very much to keep social peace. On the other side, not only millions of Mexican aliens were allowed to settle with little or no opposition over the last few decades, but they're imposing their traditions, culture and heritage, as well. What will remain of our countries?
I think America is still in time to rescue herself, but it takes more than mere electoral promises.
Are US politicians scared at the idea of fueling social tension by imposing the respect for the law? I wish they could carefully look at the Italian situation, hoping that it could teach them a lesson: on the long term, coddling illegal aliens will pave the way for civil unrest and the loss of sovereignty to criminals, who will ultimately rule our cities. Italy's likely to become a Third World, Muslim country in the not so distant future. Even if its leaders wake up now (I doubt they will) it's probably too late. America can make it. I’m still betting that it will, but the 2008 election may be its last chance.
Ms. Lapenna is an Italian freelance columnist and blogger presently living in Sardinia, Italy. She has been published in the Jerusalem Post, Real Clear Politics, Town Hall and is current contributor to TCS Daily and the American Thinker.