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The European Immigration Crisis
Illegal Immigration to Italy Up 43% in 2016

Illegal crossings Libya to Italy are rising sharply, raising alarms in Rome that now that Greece has been protected by a new EU deal, Italy will face an inundation of immigrants. The Financial Times reports:

[There has been] a surge in migrant traffic through the Sicilian channel in recent weeks, coinciding with the approach of warmer Spring weather and calmer seas. This year, however, the surge has started earlier and seems more dramatic than in the past, posing a new risk for Matteo Renzi, Italy’s centre-left prime minister.

Nearly 15,000 people have made the dangerous crossing from north Africa to Italian shores in the first three months of 2016, which is a 43 per cent increase on the same period in 2015, and a 38 per cent increase on the same period in 2014.

If that percentage increase holds, or rises further through the year, many Italians are likely to see it as a sign that EU policy on migration has done little to address Rome’s needs, even if it succeeds in limiting the number of migrants travelling through Greece.

Such a sentiment could embolden populist anti-immigrant parties such as the Northern League, which is Italy’s third-largest, and damage Mr Renzi’s political standing ahead of municipal elections in June and a crucial referendum on constitutional reforms in the autumn.

The worst case scenario for Rome is that the closure of the Balkan route sanctioned by Brussels’ deal with Ankara diverts Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis to Italy instead.

Migrants already in Greece could travel through Albania and across the Adriatic.

Before the Syrian Civil War sent over a million people streaming through Turkey and Greece north to Germany, Italy had been the epicenter of Europe’s gathering immigration crisis, receiving refugees from a wrecked Libya and migrants fleeing grinding poverty in sub-Saharan Africa for better opportunities north. Now that the Turkey-EU deal (take three) may be clamping down on the Greek crossing, Italy is back on the hot seat—with the addition of the Syrian and Middle Eastern refugees to worry about too.

And now, some of the tricks Italy had up its sleeve last time to deal with the problem won’t be available:

The vast majority of migrants arriving in Italy recently are from sub-Saharan Africa — Nigerians, Gambians and Senegalese are the largest nationalities to arrive in Italy in 2016 — and are not automatically eligible for international protection. This means they cannot qualify for the EU’s relocation programme, which applies to Syrians and Eritreans fleeing war and persecution, redistributing them to other EU countries. Many are likely to have their initial asylum applications rejected and will be stuck in legal limbo in Italy for months, until a final ruling is made.

In the past, Italy could count on many undocumented migrants moving on to northern Europe, taking advantage of the EU’s passport-free travel zone. But since Austria has said it will step up checks along the Italian border and limit the number of refugees allowed to enter, migrants are more likely to remain boxed in south of the Alps. France, too, is expected to further intensify its own border controls, in response to terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris.

Italy’s economy is already in trouble, and it has been dealing with refugees and migrants for years. A fresh wave could prove politically destabilizing in one of the most important countries in Europe. This in turn would have crucial implications for everything from euro monetary decision to the future of the EU’s sanctions regime on Russia.

As we wrote after the latest iteration of the EU’s bargain with Turkey, Europe has bought itself some time (at great price) to deal with the refugee problem in more comprehensive fashion. The demographic pressure from Africa is so vast, Europe is so comparatively wealthy, and the Middle East is so comprehensively wrecked that refugees and migrants will still be seeking new ways though—or to better exploit old ones such as the Libya-Italy crossing. Europe has got to use this time it bought to come up with a comprehensive answer for patrolling and enforcing all of its external borders, not just the one in Greece, or the trouble will just keep rolling to the next country down the line.

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  • Jim__L

    Is 15,000 a big number, in terms of the millions people are worked up about?

    • Dale Fayda

      You know that is just a small portion of what’s expected this year, on top of what’s already washed ashore in the past several years, in addition to what’s inevitably to come in the next several years, right? Besides, how much/little of illegal Third World scum is acceptable on an annual basis, would you say?

      • Tom

        “Besides, how much/little of illegal Third World scum”

        Congratulations for giving the elites who want to dissolve their current people and replace them with another more ammunition.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Do you really think that they need an excuse?

          • Tom

            No, but that sort of thing is how they gain allies, or convince people to stay neutral.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Don’t bet upon it….I don’t always agree with those who refer to entire groups of people as ‘scum’, but there does come a time when one must fight against having the language of a debate dictated by one’s opponents. The PC folks have mangled debate enough….there aren’t a ton of neutrals who are going to be swayed by rough talk, and those that are likely to aren’t all that neutral to begin with. If they are going to surrender to the elites who wish to dismiss the electorate and acquire another because of poorly chosen words, then they aren’t going to be overly useful in a struggle in the first place.
            There are bigger and better fights to have…

          • Tom

            I agree that they aren’t overly useful, but if nothing else we can maybe convince them to stay out. That’s what we need.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Quite frankly, calling a spade a spade (and many of these immigrants richly deserve the phrasing used to describe them) isn’t going to bring new people into the fight that aren’t already going to join. On the other hand, bowdlerizing our language to appease the gods of PC will discourage some of those already on our side. We need all the allies we can get…

          • Tom

            Many of them do; many don’t.

          • f1b0nacc1

            And those who don’t understand the necessity of being honest about those who do….if they don’t, then I am less concerned about their ‘feelings’ in the first place. Refugees are supplicants…they don’t get to make demands

          • Jim__L

            “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore” is more poetic. Iambic, even.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Bravo!….though you do realize that today he would be castigated as a ‘hater’

          • Jim__L

            She. And women can’t be haters, can they? They’re not privileged enough.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Of course…she….but then I am a hater…

          • Jim__L

            It’s OK. We’re both haters for insisting that gender binaries have a basis in physical reality. =(

            Our only comfort is that basically every sane person in history can also be labelled this way, so we’re in good company. =)

        • Dale Fayda

          With all due respect, but you’re the “Mitt Romney” of this site’s comment section – timid, cautious; prone to parsing and self-censorship. As such, you’re incapable of calling a spade a spade, even in extreme circumstances, such as this kind of THIRD WORLD SCUM tsunami engulfing Europe. Therefore, you never internalize the real extend of this demographic catastrophe – your milquetoast PC squeamishness gives you a mental “out”, as if tisk-tisking someone else’s comment will change what is truly happening one iota.

          Ask the people of Western Europe to characterize what is happening to them and I’ll bet “Third World Scum” would be one of the milder epithets you’d hear.

          • Tom

            Depends on who you ask, as you should know.
            What you refer to as “parsing and self-censorship” I call precision in language, which is necessary in order to identify the actual problem, which is necessary if you don’t want to waste political capital defending yourself against charges that would have been laughable if you’d been more precise in what you actually said, or human and financial capital going after the wrong enemy, or the right enemy in the right way.
            TL;DR: It doesn’t matter how much force you put behind your rhetoric if you miss.

          • Dale Fayda

            I guess that recent assaults in Cologne, the wave of terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, coupled with habitual criminality of immigrant “no-go” zones all over Europe have escaped your enlightened, precise mind. Let me also point out that this article specifically deals with ILLEGAL immigration, which always attracts exactly the kind of human gunk off the bottom of the Third World barrel that has been washing up all over Europe in the past few years. Criminal, worthless, fanatical, unassimilable refuse is what is flooding into Europe at this time. Your attempts at deflection don’t change that fact one bit.

          • Tom

            No, actually, they haven’t escaped me, you rightist SJW.
            Yes, I went there. You’re jumping from “Members of Group X do this” to “Group X does this,” while ascribing the worst possible motives all members of the group, just like your average tumblr feminist does. The only difference is your targeting selection.

          • Dale Fayda

            Parsing, equivocating, backpedalling, deflecting, theorizing – anything to avoid facing the hard, cold reality of the situation. Just like the gutless, worthless turds who constitute the European ruling class, wringing its hands in self-inflicted helplessness, as their continent is subsumed by the wretched SCUM of the collective armpits of the world.

          • Tom

            The reality is that some people are determined to do evil and others are not, and blanket statements help precisely no one.
            That is the cold, hard reality of the situation.

          • Dale Fayda

            “The reality is that some people are determined to do evil and others are not, and blanket statements help precisely no one.”

            No, Tom – that’s “words on a computer screen”. What is actually happening in Europe NOW and what has been happening there for several decades is the cold, hard reality. All of your PC denialism won’t change the consequences of what amounts to a hostile invasion of Europe by the wretched scum and villainy of the failed cultures of the earth.

          • Tom

            Dale, at the point where you’re calling me, of all people, a “PC denialist,” perhaps its time you started checking your assumptions.

          • Dale Fayda

            The exact verbiage I use to describe you is largely beside the point in this discussion – it also falls under the category of “words on a screen”. What is undeniable is that there is NOTHING good coming out of what’s currently going on in Europe, NOTHING good has come out of previous unchecked Third World immigration over the last several decades and NOTHING good will ever come out of it. Why not, you may ask? Because culturally inferior, actively hostile, religiously fanatical, sub-literate, unskilled, entitled and slovenly illegal aliens, with an unbroken track record of political terrorism, garden variety criminality and multi-generational government dependency MILES long will never make good new citizens and deserve to be classified as scum.

          • Tom

            I think there were some babies in that bathwater.

      • Jim__L

        Please. Dale. We’re traditional Americans here – the term is not “Third World scum”. Our preferred euphemism ought to be “wretched refuse of your teeming shore”.

        All multilayered irony aside, 60k immigrants this year, compared with maybe 40k last year and maybe 30k the year before that, seems to me like it might be a manageable number — given a sane and effective policing / assimilation policies.

        That said, Andrew has a point, and Italy really doesn’t need ANY new folks coming in. I’d kind of like VM to do a piece on how this new Migrant crisis ties into the old Euro crisis that they were covering. And the Greying crisis (and how that fits with youth unemployment — how many people are surplus to requirements?), and the crisis in Export trends (where China gobbled up Europe’s share of global exports over the last 20 years.)

        At that point we might have a decent picture of what ails Europe these days.

    • Andrew Allison

      It’s one-tenth of the number of immigrants in just the first 8 months of last year. If the 43% increase for the first three months holds, there will be just under a quarter million this year.

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