Conflict & Justice

Italy's immigration crackdown

Tens of thousands of Roma live in Italy, some are integrated but most live in makeshift encampments on the outskirts of major cities. Naples is where the immigrants' troubles started this week after a mother allegedly caught a Roma girl trying to steal her six month old baby. She went on television with her accusation. Soon after hundreds of angry people surrounded the largest shanty town and the situation snowballed, burning the encampment to the ground. Even as fire trucks moved in and police pledged to protect the Roma, the government announced a nationwide roundup of suspected illegal immigrants. This backlash is part of a growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy, and Italians believe illegal immigrants, especially Roma, are behind rising crime in the country. the issue figured prominently in national elections last month and helped Berlusconi and his partners win power. But Italy is walking a fine line when it deports Roma from Romania because they're EU citizens with the right to live in Italy. The EU has warned Italy not to target its citizens illegally. The Immigration Minister sought to ensure Italians that the government is only going after immigrants who have committed crimes. Many illegal immigrants to Italy come from North Africa as well.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.