An estimated 80,000 asylum seekers have entered Italy this year causing increasing tension among Italian natives, who believe migrants are only adding to their country’s economic problems. Such numbers of migrants making the journey from war-torn Libya and other North African and Middle Eastern countries is unlike anything that Italy has experienced in recent times.
This tension overflowed in a recent clash in the wealthy suburb of Casale San Nicola caused by the housing of 19 migrants in an old school building there. Local residents were highly displeased to see their neighbourhood used for such a purpose, and so resorted to violence. A number of police officers were injured in their attempts to quieten the disturbance, in what is an example of a series of outbreaks in the country that some have attributed to increased migration.
Some commentators though, have pointed to the fascist groups they believe are stoking the unrest. Historians should remind themselves of Italy’s troubled past with regard to this ideology. Others highlight that many ordinary Italians have had a more philanthropic response to the crisis, erecting a temporary camp in Rome.
Applicants of Human Sciences and Anthropology and Archaeology should consider these different reactions to immigration and the impact it has on the social life of the receiving countries.
Politics students should find interest in the different policies and actions of countries when dealing with such an influx into their population. Recent events at Calais show that this migration problems are widespread throughout Europe so students should think about short and long term effects this has on the EU.
Economists might also think about the wider backdrop of struggling Eurozone economies, and how this may affect countries’ capacity and appetite to accept migrants.