Spain, Italy: Two Tactics for Tackling Illegal Immigration

By Lisa Abend; Anna Momigliano Correspondent | Contributor | The Christian Science Monitor, August 7, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Spain, Italy: Two Tactics for Tackling Illegal Immigration

Lisa Abend; Anna Momigliano Correspondent | Contributor, The Christian Science Monitor

Miriana spends her nights sleeping in a park, and her days hunched on a stoop outside a Madrid shop, begging for money. The young woman admits that she earned more in Italy, where she lived for a year. But for this Romanian immigrant, who is also ethnically Roma (or gypsy), the decision to move to Spain was easy.

"Here, the people are better," she explains in broken Spanish. "They don't have as much hate."

Both Spain and Italy, situated across from Africa on the Mediterranean coast, have faced huge influxes of illegal immigrants over the past couple of years - 18,000 intercepted by Spain last year alone, and 12,000 by Italy so far this year. But their governments, though sharing a conviction that the problem urgently needs to be curbed, have taken different approaches to reach that common goal.

While Spain struggles to find the balance between limiting immigration and protecting human rights, Italy has implemented state of emergency measures and even fingerprinting of Roma - measures decried as "xenophobic" by the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg.

"The Spanish government has a very strict policy," says Roberto Malini, president of the Italian human rights organization EveryOne. "The Italians have an intimidatory policy: the idea is to scare immigrants, so that when they go home, they can tell their countrymen that Italy is no place for foreigners."

Italy: State of emergency

On July 25, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government passed a decree that allows the government to use military troops to monitor the country's 16 immigrant internment centers and to deploy another 3,000 soldiers to several cities in an effort to control crime, which is often blamed on immigrants.

Parliament also recently passed a law specifying that illegal immigrants convicted of crimes can be held for up to a third longer than Italians convicted of the same felony. Property rented to illegal immigrants can be confiscated under the new legislation.

These steps have troubled human rights activists. "At the identification centers used to hold North Africans, immigrants often face violence and intimidation," says Mr. Malini. "But they're not in a position to complain, because they'll be expelled."

Italy's measures have hit the Roma most severely. Though some have lived in Italy for years, many came from Romania when that country joined the European Union in 2007. Berlusconi's predecessor, former Prime Minister Romano Prodi, had ordered some deportations of Roma, despite their EU citizenship. Under Mr. Berlusconi, Italy has gone further, initiating a census of Roma that began in June and included fingerprinting.

This discrimination has been fed by media headlines such as "Invasion of the Nomads.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Spain, Italy: Two Tactics for Tackling Illegal Immigration


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?