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Italy set to deport Gypsies

Milan, 12.10.2010 10:32, (ROMEA)

Italy has become the latest country to announce that it will deport thousands of Roma in what is seen as a Europe wide reaction to immigration in light of the recent recession.

According to a report by the Washington Post, authorities have moved to dismantle Triboniano, Milan’s largest authorized Gypsy camp. Simultaneously, officials have started bulldozing smaller impromptu camps and issuing eviction notices to Roma families living in long established camps.

Milan’s vice –mayor reportedly told the Washington post that:"These are dark-skinned people, not Europeans like you and me," and added that "Our final goal is to have zero Gypsy camps in Milan."

The immigration debate has intensified following the recession, with voters blaming immigrants such as the Roma, for taking away jobs and driving up crime rates. Across Europe, governments are implementing immigration rules to target groups like the Roma. The Washington Post noted how: "Even in some of the most progressive nations in the region, such as Sweden, voters are showing new support for ultra-right politicians whose platforms center on a tougher line on immigration."

In Britain, the new coalition government has put a cap on non –EU migration in an effort to drive down the unemployment rate,with a permanent cap set to take effect from next year. Meanwhile in France, a proposed law could strip citizenship from foreigners naturalized for less than 10 years if they commit violent crimes against the police or a government official.The report noted how last year Italy stopped issuing work permits to non-EU immigrants and set up a policy aimed at preventing refugees from entering the country via the sea from North Africa.

Oliviero Forti, from Caritas, a Catholic charity in Rome said that:"It would be difficult now for immigration policy to get any more restrictive in Italy, unless we started to build walls".

The approach of the Milanese authorities contrasts sharply with their counterparts in Rome,where the local government there is relocating Gypsies to camps with tighter security but with better sanitary conditions. According to the report,Gypsy immigrants from Eastern Europe will be given four years to find jobs and educate their children, in which case, they would be eligible for public housing, otherwise they will face deportation.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Rome’s special representative on Gypsy issues said that "Italy is still a tolerant country. "

Nathalia Odwin, Washington Post
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