Fall 2018 Immigration Research - Italy, Europe, and US -- 1st wave

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  • This article corrects some misinformation about immigration to Italy. (Pick some of the important facts/claims out of the article and include in this description to save us time.)

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Main Research Headings for Immigration Research

Basic Facts and Figures about refugee immigration and other immigration to US / Italy / EU

  • This article compiles immigration of the 28 nations in the EU from 2016. Charts are included to help understand the distribution of immigrants. 4.3 million people immigrated to the European Union, and 300,800 of those immigrants went to Italy. Half of the immigrants to the EU were under the age of 26.There were 22 million immigrants living in the EU at the time of this publication.
  • This journal article, published in May 2007, shines light on the myths in the scholarly world surrounding the immigration of African migrants to the European Union. The increasing flow of migrants exists in part due to push factors of violence and economic instability in under-developed countries of Africa but also due to pull factors of increased perspectives in the more highly-developed destination countries. The EU’s historical policies, such as the slave trade and selfish trade laws, have contributed to this mass movement of people, but the current decade’s solutions of closing borders and aiding in development of countries may, in fact, be harmful to both parties. As the flow of people from Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, continues to increase, well-advised policies are necessary to capture the positive benefits of immigration, such as financial support of extended families. Although this article was published a decade ago, it provides necessary information about the recent trends/facts regarding an important and large group of immigrants currently residing in, and moving to, the EU, both legally and illegally.
  • This article states that Italians actually overestimate how many immigrants are in their country. Italians generally believe immigrants make up 25 percent of their population, but the real figure is just under 8 percent. This has some interesting moral implications, based primarily in Italians' views of immigrants as a part of their own national identity. Why do Italians think this way? Is this a sign of a negative or positive attitude towards immigrants? This is a unique bit of knowledge because it raises questions of whether Italians see immigration as a bigger problem than it really is, and how politics tap into this common perception of immigrants.
  • This recently published article states President Trump’s new plan to only allow 30,000 refugees into the States every year. This is the lowest cap since then refugee program was created in 1980. The President’s senior policy advisor, Stephan Miller, is trying to slash the cap even more to only 15,000 refugees. These numbers are a fraction of what Former President Obama’s policy was by the end of his term (110,000). By reducing the cap so drastically, it will only prolong the stressful process of applying to be in the states legally and continue to backlog the immigration courts.
  • This article presents statistics on different EU countries' acceptance of immigrants, specifically refugees leaving their home countries due to war and violence. Studies show that Spain is the most welcoming of the EU countries with a positive 86% of people in favor of opening their country to refugees. Among some of the countries strongly opposed to immigrants are Hungary and Greece, with 80%-90% of people voting against allowing refugees into their country. Outside the European Union, Mexico, Canada and Australia were the most welcoming countries, while South Africa, Russia and Israel came in last. The United States and Japan were in the middle with 66% of people in favor of accepting refugees.
  • In her article, “How Far Will the EU Go to Seal Its Borders?”, Caitlin Chandler shines a light on the plight of people living in Africa and the Middle East, trying to make their way to a better life by being smuggled across borders. Chandler interviews multiple people from Eritrean, who are residing in Sudan and working to make enough money to be smuggled into Libya and then into Italy. What was once an easier task, has now become nearly impossible and dangerous as the European Union (EU) buckles down on their border policies. Chandler exposes “the EU, working with the Sudanese government, wants refugees and migrants to return to their “home” country or stay in a third country (how the EU refers to countries like Sudan).” (81) The EU, working with multiple African states and the African Union (AU), created the Khartoum Process, with the main goal being staunching the flow of immigrants from Africa coming in to Europe. Numerous EU countries have their own agreements with various AU countries. For example, Italy has been training and funding the Libyan coast guard. The rest of Chandler’s article focuses on the effects and repercussions the Khartoum Process has on African immigrants.
  • [1]
  • Makenna Morris

Italy and the EU on immigration

What rules govern the handling of immigration into Italy? How do Italians view the support from the EU? What are the positions of major Italian political parties on immigration?

  • The Five Star Movement (M5S) is a political party in Italy that won over 30% of votes in the election last March. The party has radical ideals, among which are anti-immigration. The following article details the party’s plans for deporting immigrants now that they hold control of the administration. These plans include opening more detainment centers, shutting down refugee camps, renegotiating treaties, requiring mosques and their attendees to be registered with the government, and more. The group plans to form an alliance with Lega, another Italian political party that falls far right on the spectrum, to submit these documents to the President. Based on this article, it’s easy to see why Italian immigrants are beginning to fear their future.
  • In this article, Corallina Lopez Curz goes throught the five steps of Italy's plan for how to proceed with immigration. Outlining a few ways of how immigrating to Italy would be immensly less appealing, Lopez Curz describes the growth of detention facilities quadrupling from a capacity of 400 to 1600. Another step in this immigration plan is to create a sort of unpaid labor force for those who ate waiting to to obtain an Italian citizen status. On the other hand, one step has a few positives to those trying to immigrate to Italy. Italy is trying to crack down on forced returns for illegal immigrants and even asylum seekers. But apart from this, Italy is also willing to compensate those who are wiling to go through a voluntary return. All of these steps are ways Italy is trying to keep illegal immigration levels down.
  • [2]
  • Jordanne Beckwith-Barros
  • This article dives into Italian citizens' divided opinions on the topic of immigration immediately after Matteo Salvini’s inauguration as the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy. It describes research about which demographics of Italians are in support of the heavy flow of immigrants. The research conducted by More In Common identified seven different opinion segments along a spectrum that runs from open to closed values. The research found that one-quarter of people to fit in the “open” category, one-quarter in the “closed” group, and one-half of the subjects in the “middle”group. It breaks down the difference on Italian citizens’ opinions on immigration against immigrants showing that Italians in all seven categories have different perspectives when the debate is broken down even further.
  • In this article, the author Nick Squires, showcases Italy's tolerance of immigration has reached its peak, and is starting to defer migrants coming to their borders to other surrounding countries, such as Spain. In July of 2018, Italy refused (for the first time) a boat carrying rescued asylum seekers from Africa access to cross into Italian borders. Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, stated that Italy has "taken in 640,000 migrants since 2014" and that they have "had enough". Other countries are making certain adaptions, with Austria promising to send soldiers to North Africa to supervise the flow of migrants, and Lesbos (one of the five Greek islands) continues to host multitudes of refugees after the migration crisis of 2015-2016. It is becoming increasingly clear that the issue of immigration has become a major conflict in Italy, and Italy's new government is continuing to harden their attitudes towards it. Immigration will sure be a key point at the next meeting of EU interior ministers.
  • In this article Italy has started turning away migrants in the hope that it will trigger other EU member countries to action and help provide asylum to migrants trying to enter Europe through Italy. However, the situation remains the same as it has for the past three years with no agreement in place. This dispute highlights how hard it has been the past three years as member countries of the EU search for common ground on migration issues. Italy is turning away ships with migrants rescued at sea in a campaign to make EU countries take their share. The problem is with many EU member countries particularly the former communist states in eastern Europe that refuse to admit asylum seekers.
  • In this article, published in the Guardian it discusses the many opinions of what Italy should do about undocumented immigrants. One very strong opinion is from Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvina, who vows to deport 500,000 undocumented immigrants. Although many people fear this promise, the likelihood of him following through is very small due to the limited amount of funding and resources in deportation. Although, the government could make being an immigrant or refugee in Italy even tougher in Italy by cutting resources, and making them more public. Another factor that could prevent Salvina’s vow from coming true is that this could potentially violate international and EU immigration laws.
  • This article covers the view of Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and the vow he made to rid Italy of many immigrants. He has vowed to cut aid money for migrants and to deport those who illegally are in the country. Italy is the main European gateway for immigrants arriving by boat, there were 119,369 that arrived last year. Because of these large numbers, Italy signed a migrant deal with Libya to intercept boats and return migrants to Libya. This agreement proved to be effective in 2017, buts so far in 2018 13,000 migrants have already arrived in Italy from Libya. One thing that will hinder Salvini's plan is Italy's deportation law that says there must be two agents present for every deportee. For example, there was a recent deportation operation of 29 Tunisians who were escorted by 74 government agents, this ended up costing €115,000 or €3,965 per deportee.
  • Matteo Salvini is Italy’s Interior minister and as many have stated already he has strong connections or similarities to President Trump. In this interview, he regularly states he’s a supporter of Trump’s policies and that he was even advised by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign leader, during his campaign. He talks about how excessive immigration can yield higher crime rates and can take away jobs from Italian citizens. He also mentions the desire to “save European values” and going back to its Judo-Christian roots, which draws many parallels to Trumps “Make America Great Again” campaign. Salvini also states that he wishes to secure the outer borders of the EU in order to open up borders between countries in the EU.
  • This article discusses the major issues that affect Italian voters’ decisions, particularly those living in the southern island of Sicily. Due to its location on the Mediterranean, Sicily faces a continual influx of migrants, affecting employment and immigration issues. For many living in turmoil in Africa and the Middle East, travelling to Sicily gives them hope of living the Italian dream and finding work and a new life. Unfortunately, the reality does not match the dream, and unemployment rates remain at very high rates with 57% of youth unemployment in Sicily. The lack of unemployment gives rise to organized crime groups, including the mafia. With some people emphasizing that immigrants are people too, and others focusing on the high unemployment levels, the immigration debate remains a heavily debated topic for those living in Sicily.

Major Events and Controversies

Report on major events and crises Italians have faced intercepting and receiving immigrants, especially by boat. What is the role of NGO's in these crises? How are contemporary Italian politic parties responding?

  • Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is cracking down on illegal immigration, similar to the efforts made by Donald Trump in the United States. A decree was passed on Monday in favor of furthering Salvini's efforts. The decree will lengthen the time an immigrant can be detained, grant fewer people asylum, and will expand the definition of criminal offenses that permit deportation.
  • Interior minister/deputy prime minister of Italy Matteo Salvini recently opened a case against Cécile Kyenge, Italy's minister of integration. He's having her stand trial for libel after she had called his party, now known as The League, racist. The reasoning behind the case is that Kyenge likened the party to Nazis, damaging their reputation. The article additionally provides details on Kyenge's career and views on immigration, the relationship between racial tension and the economy, and Salvini's actions regarding immigration.
  • Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s cabinet approved a set of laws that puts more restrictions on migration. It allows refugee applications to be suspended if the applicant is deemed "socially dangerous" and abolishes humanitarian protection, which protects asylum seekers who do not meet the qualifications to become a refugee. 25% of asylum seekers have humanitarian protection, which lasts for two years, so the removal of this protection may increase the number of immigrants who are in the country illegally. The new laws will also make it easier for the government to deport migrants.
  • This source is a video on YouTube. Border patrol spokesman, Chris Cabrera, was interviewed on a CNN segment about the current immigration policies as they relate to the separation of kids from the parents and adults that accompany them. This is a point of view I think is often neglected. Some of the personal experience and desire for change in immigration policies sheds a light on an important perspective that Chris offers. He speaks from personal experience on how kids are often put into dangerous situations by their parents or people who claim to be their parents. Often kids will be exploited by criminals who may or may not be their parents so they can more easily cross the border. He explains also the fact that if people chose to go through the port of entry, they wouldn't be charged for the crime of illegally crossing the border. Chris also acknowledges that the process of crossing the border through the port of entry can be difficult, and he calls for reform while maintaining the fact that children are treated humanely under the current policy.
  • This article is based on reports from an organization/charity called “Save the Children”. It’s focus is on how there were multiple cases where kids were being forced to perform sexual acts when they weren’t able to pay the drivers who would take them across the border. Cases of this were frequent in a city called Ventimiglia, because that was a common place for migrants to attempt to enter France from Italy. A great number of these children have been at-risk young girls who were attempting to make it across the border because they have relatives or friends in neighboring European countries. This charity reported that there were more than 1,900 girls who went through some form of sexual exploitation across a few Italian territories just between 2017 and 2018. And considering that those were reported instances, it is likely that there are many more unknown occurrences.
  • In this article, it discusses the tensions building in Italy and Austria. Italians are struggling with the masses of immigrants coming to their county to seek a new life. They are not able to properly handle the amount of people coming and have noticed an increase in acts of violence and racism against migrants. The UN commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, has had to step in and demand a more accepting and relation approach to welcoming those who are feeling from conflict. She also made it clear that the US’s approach to immigration was horrific. She also called out Italy’s Minister Matteo Salvini for trying to close Italy’s sea ports to GGO-operated migrant rescue ships, implying he has blood on his hands.

Social and Economic Impact of Immigrants to Italy / US

What do economist and social scientist say about the impact of immigrants on the economy and social life in Italy / US? Are there differences of opinion and differences between impacts on Italy vs. US?

    • This article address and debunks some myths about migrant workers and how migrant workers impact Italy's economy and pension system. It is a common myth that migrants steal jobs from Italians; instead the fields that migrants tend to work in and the fields that Italians tend to work in are drastically different. One of the reasons that migrants and Italians work in different fields has to do with the differing graduation rates of secondary education for migrants and Italians. In addition, since Italy is an aging country, immigrant workers provide a positive balance for INPS funds. Immigrant workers, just like in the United States, perform unqualified manual work. As of 2016 there are 5 million immigrants living in Italy and these immigrants add 130 billion euros to the Italian economy. So the argument that immigrants are taking Italians jobs and taking money from the government is false.
    • This article discusses the impact of Bangladeshi immigrants in Italy, especially Rome. In Bangladesh, people are struggling to find work to support their families. In Italy, Bangladeshi migrants and their families are able to find many more opportunities. Italy has attracted many Bangladeshis because of its job opportunities, as well as its less strict entry controls compared to other European countries. Italy also has initiatives to legalize immigrants. Bangladeshi migrants have successfully found a place in Italy’s economy primarily by owning and running mini-marts. The article also mentions that working in the service industry and construction is another common form of employment for Bangladeshis. However, since so many Bangladeshis have migrated to Italy, the community has become competitive. Many Bangladeshis also do not hope for a future in Italy, rather they would like to return home after they have made enough money.
    • This article approaches the topic of immigration from an interesting perspective. Rather than focusing on border security, the author of this article stresses the importance of immigration in terms of national security for the United States and claims that greater population is the foundation of national power. With that being said, the author highlights the idea that immigration is a catalyst for positive change and fully harnessing America’s military potential. Throughout the article, the author travels back in time and briefly describes what America would be like if the amount of immigrants were cut by half each year starting in 1776, when our country was founded, and how that would threaten our strengths as a nation. Using data from the US census starting with the year 1820, the author calculated that today there would be nearly 100 million fewer Americans, cutting our current population by nearly one third. Although this article is not heavily supported by facts, it offers a unique viewpoint about the impact of immigration in the United States.
  • [3]
  • Madeline Becker
    • This video addresses the political viewpoint of immigration issues in Italy. The opinion stated is that immigration is not the problem, but is only the scapegoat for the economic and social crisis that stems from polarization of party. Lega Nora is a central-right coalition that was originally founded for northern independence, and is now campaigning for southern votes based on its promise to depart 500,000 immigrants. The party has gained support from Sabina Bonelli, one of its parliamentary candidates from Sicily. She believes that “small criminals bring a huge amount of people making them believe it’s paradise,” but they cannot take everyone in without European help. Currently, the Lega party may have the best chance of winning the Italian general election with leading rates of 26.3% (second closest being the democratic party at 21.3%). The mayor of Palermo does not support the Lega party, as he believes they all belong and recently forced the mafia out of the region and welcomes all migrants.
  • From May of this year, this article discusses the dire situations many immigrants were facing as the new populist government came to power in Italy. It focuses on the economic troubles migrants must deal with as they wait for citizenship. Many end up on the streets because they are unable to find a job or home due to lack of financial stability. Italy's poor and inadequate immigration system has only negatively affected those vulnerable migrants rather than help. Populist rhetoric has left many migrants and those former migrants legally residing in Italy in fear for their security and peace of mind.
  • This article examines the history of immigrant cultural assimilation in America, how long it took and what conditions helped or hampered assimilation during the first waves of mass immigration to America. The author measures assimilation through the adaption of more American sounding names, as this is a way of showing an individuals effort to conform to the dominant society. Immigrants in this time, 1930's, entered the same job market as native born Americans, and therefore there was a larger pressure to assimilate to a culture they had more contact with. The study shows that it, on average, took three generations for an immigrant family to begin naming their children more American sounding names and marrying outside of their culture group. There is some variation to this time frame as more culturally dissimilar peoples, for example Finns and Russians, took longer to assimilate. The article ends by stating that immigrants to the US today enter into a different job market than that of Americans, therefore likely less forced contact with dominant culture, but that on average immigrant populations have ended up assimilating. There has always been anger and fear directed towards un-assimilated immigrants by the host population.