The migration issue dominated the Italian election campaign
The migration issue dominated the election campaign ahead of Sunday’s legislative elections in Italy, with some leitmotivs not always in step with the reality on the ground.
‚They’re too many‘
According to the Italian Institute of Statistics (Istat), legal foreigners are 5 million in the 60.5 million inhabitants in Italy, or 8.3% and as much as Italians living abroad.
They are mainly Romanians (23%), Albanians (9%), Moroccans (8%), Chinese (5.5%), Ukrainians (4.5%), Filipinos (3.3%) and Indians (3%). and work in petty trade, home help or agriculture.
But those who really worry are the more than 690,000 people mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa have landed since 2013 and some of whom are still in the country, with or without papers.
According to several estimates, the illegals are around 500,000, denied asylum or arrived with a visa now expired.
Remains a strong distortion of perception: according to a recent report from the Eurispes Institute, 30% of Italians know that there are about 8% of foreigners in their country. All others say more, if not more.
‚They are expensive‘
According to the Idos immigration study center, immigrants earn between 2.1 and 2.8 billion euros more than they cost the public accounts: younger than the average Italians, they contribute more than they do not receive pensions or health reimbursements.
Migrants watch the sea in Ventimiglia, on the Franco-Italian border, near the French city of Menton, in the background, June 13, 2015
However, arrivals via Libya have cost the state more than 4.2 billion euros in 2017, according to the government: 18% for rescue at sea, 13% for health assistance and 65% for centers reception for asylum seekers.
In 2013, there were 22,000 people in these centers. At the end of January, the figure had risen to 182,000 thanks to the development of private structures – present in 40% of the communes – to which the State pays 35 euros per person per day.
‚They do not do anything of the day‘
The reception of asylum seekers varies greatly depending on the structures. Some provide Italian lessons and psychological support required, and also offer football matches, volunteering, internships … A flourishing of activities that also allow rural communities in escheat to come back to life.
Migrants march against racism in Macerata, central Italy, February 10, 2018
But other structures are cutting back on all the expenses, piling up hundreds of people who are dying of boredom while waiting for a decision on their status, which can take more than 2 years, leaving anger and mistrust among migrants as residents.
„People go crazy, there are a lot of young people whose head does not turn round after a few months,“ says Moussa Bamba, a 32-year-old Ivorian who spent several months in one of these centers.
‚They are sentenced to delinquency‘
The heavy media coverage of a series of sordid facts attributed to foreigners has raised questions about the link between immigration and insecurity, but according to the Ministry of the Interior, the number of crimes has decreased in Italy over the last 10 years, even as the number of foreigners grew strongly.
However, foreign prisoners currently account for 16% of the prison population in Italy, double their proportion in the population, according to the Ministry of Justice.
But many are illegal: according to several recent reports, crime rates of foreigners in a regular situation are comparable to those of Italians, but rise sharply among illegal immigrants.
‚We must stop this‘
Right-wing and far-right candidates, as well as the 5-star movement, promise to stop the flow of arrivals and expel hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.
But the future of the flows through Libya will depend above all on the stabilization of the country and the sustainability of the controversial agreements concluded by Rome with the authorities and Libyan militias, which have made it possible to reduce arrivals by 70% since the summer. 2017.
And the expulsion of clandestine crowds will have to be preceded by a multiplication of agreements with the countries of origin. An effort in this direction has led to a 12% increase in evictions in 2017: according to the Ministry of the Interior, they went from 5,817 in 2016 to 6,514 last year.