Sunday, November 04, 2007

Seriously, what happened while I was gone?

Did someone put something in the Eurabian water or something?

Italian Anger with Romanian immigrants swells.
Opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi urged Italy to close its borders to Romanian workers and a conservative ally called for the expulsion of tens of thousands of immigrants as the nation grappled Sunday with public outrage over a wave of violent crimes blamed on foreigners.

Pope Benedict XVI added his voice to the debate over the balance between citizen safety and treatment of foreigners by reminding authorities that immigrants have rights, as well as obligations.

Expulsion orders ready to go. Vigilante patrols urged by some.
Armed with a government decree approved in an emergency Cabinet session on Oct. 31, authorities across Italy have begun expelling or readying expulsion orders for European Union citizens with criminal records or those deemed dangerous to public safety... Another right-wing leader, Roberto Calderoli, advocated vigilante patrols to keep Italian cities safe from criminal immigrants.

What will the Italian version of the counterparts of La Pelosi and Hayseed Reid and do?
To remain in force more than a few months, the decree requires approval in Parliament, where Premier Romano Prodi's center-left forces have a narrow and sometime unreliable majority... Fini said his forces would vote for it only if expulsions are expanded to include Romanians and other EU citizens without the means to support themselves.

The Romanians are playing the Xenophobia card.
In Bucharest, Romanian's prime minister, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, summoned top Cabinet ministers Sunday to discuss the issue. "We should fight against the wave of xenophobia that is manifesting itself in Italy and we must fight against the bad image that Romanians who are working in Italy have," he said Saturday.

A very telling symptom of the problem.
Italian authorities say statistics show foreigners commit a disproportionate number of crimes in Italy, and Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said 75% of arrests in the city in the last year involved Romanians.

On the national level, figures from Italy's statistics bureau found that while less than 5% of the population in 2004 were foreigners, foreigners accounted for 26% of all those convicted, although the report cautioned that immigrants were less likely to obtain adequate legal defense.

The tipping points:
Romanians have been detained as suspects in several recent crimes, including the rape of a woman on church steps in northern Italy, a Tiber River bank mugging that left a Rome cyclist in a coma for weeks before he died and the robbery of a Milan coffee bar in which the elderly owner was beaten and her daughter raped.

Other recent crimes in which foreigners are suspected include the mugging of Oscar-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore, which sent him to the hospital; the holdup of a prominent TV anchorman and the mugging of a Rome municipal commissioner.

The savage beating last week of the wife of an Italian naval commander triggered the decree calling for quick expulsions of some EU citizens after a Romanian was arrested in connection with the assault.

And about that EU thing? Maybe not such a good idea after all?
After Romania joined the EU this year, Romanians poured into Italy in search of work as maids, nannies, waiters, janitors and bricklayers, and they now account for nearly 1% of the population in Italy.