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Tiny Lampedusa struggles with tide of clandestine immigration

July 2008

Lampedusa is a tiny Italian island near Malta. It is located 205km from Porto Empedocle in Sicily, 167km from Tunisia and 167km from Libya. It has only 6,000 permanent inhabitants. With the recent failure of Libya to honour a 2004 agreement the Island's resources are being overwhelmed by clandestine immigrants from Africa en-route to Europe.

The immigrants come through Lampedusa, as if through a permanently open door. They do not want to stay too long. Their objective is to go somewhere else, to the rich cities of the north of Italy or of Europe. It is a problem for the European Community, as much as Italy's problem.

At the beginning of July, 1000 clandestine immigrants reached the shores of this little island, in just 12 hours. Two women died, one was pregnant.

The Mayor of Lampedusa Bernardino De Rubeis comments: "It is an uninterrupted influx, we cannot cope. The immigrants are escaping war or famine. This is the nearest port from North Africa, that is why they all end up here. And here nothing functions anymore: the rubbish collection, the sewers, the water supply, the hospital. With 6,000 inhabitants plus the tourists, we must ration even the water to provide for the immigrants. The desalination plant cannot cope. Meanwhile, there are thousands of other refugees ready to leave from Libya."

Another official asks for the help of the European Commission, but what Italy gets is criticism for its handling of the emergency that has overpowered the Italian Government, accused of racism.

Nobody criticises the Libyan Government for not respecting previous accords with the last Government, which included the surveillance of the coast, especially the port of Zwara, from where the immigrants leave, undisturbed and uncontrolled by the Libyan authorities.

During the night about twenty clandestines, escaped the Immigration Centre and terrorized the locals by going into shops to buy alcoholic beverages, and then getting drunk.

The island is torn between immigrants, inhabitants and tourists, because the resources do not grow with the growth of the population, a truth that is ignored at our peril, even at the global level.

However, if we do the numbers, we find out that every clandestine immigrant brings the Immigration Centre 36€ a day. Every day in Lampedusa there are about 400 clandestine immigrants, which means about 60,000€ a day, all in the pockets of the association "Lampedusa accoglienza" (Lampedusa Reception) which administers the Centre.

A new business.

See also: Migrant swell hits Lampedusa of 31 Jul 08, About 800 illegal immigrants land in Southern Italy of 31 Jul 08, Malta receives proportionately 18 times more migrants than Italy of (undated) from the Malta Independent, Italy: 1,000 illegal immigrants moved from overflowing holding centre of 1 Aug 08, Boat migrants swamp Italian island of 31 Jul 08.


The tiny island of Lampedusa, recently closed down the refugee housing centers there.
Marisa Cohen wrote an article on August 4, 2008 about how the island was being overwhelmed by boatloads of immigrants.

A policy of sending uninvited immigrants onwards when they arrived in ships means that from housing thousands of immigrants, not a single one remains on Lampedusa. My source is an article on France2 news 3 December 2009, Berlusconi ferme le camp de Lampedusa. Click here for the video You don't need to understand French or Italian to understand the video. The commentary is that the boats are being sent back to their source, Libya. At the end the man in charge of the empty camp is saying sadly that he has nothing to do now and that there is no longer any work in Lampedusa and they are unable to help people they could have helped. Unfortunately that source of work in Libya was at enormous social and environmental cost to Italy and simply wasn't sustainable. Libya needs help with its problems but taking a trickle of asylum seekers causes more problems than it fixes and doesn't fix the situation for the millions who remain behind. The question is always, where do you draw the line. Ironically, millions of lines have been written about drawing the line.

Who is responsible for Libya's overpopulation?

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

According to Italy's deputy interior minister, Filippo Bubico, the number of asylum seekers landing in Italy rose 10-fold in January, "in an incessant and massive influx of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East".

The Italian government rescued 1100 asylum seekers off Lampedusa coast. Calmer seas could see more people trying to take the journey. There are about 3000 people trying to take the journey every month.

Immigration charities estimate between 17,000 and 20,000 asylum seekers have died at sea trying to reach Europe over the past 20 years.

"Europe can neither save nor welcome the whole world," said Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament (the EU's directly elected legislative wing) to a meeting of EU leaders in October following the Lampedusa disaster last year in which 360 people were killed on an overcrowded vessel.

The Italian government this week described the numbers as "an incessant and massive influx of migrants." War in Syria, and overpopulation in the Horn of Africa take a heavy toll.

One long-term proposal is to explore avenues for legal migration, including for "protected entries" that would-be migrants could use to access asylum safely to the EU without resorting to potentially fatal journeys. At least this would bring some control over the situation, but the Spaceship Earth's emergency life boats are already full!

There has been a surge in the number of migrants reaching Italy's southern coast in the last few months. Yet the issue of clandestine immigration has been relatively absent from the campaign debate ahead of the European elections.
New leader of National League party, Matteo Salvini, has called for suspension of the Italian Navy operation that rescues migrants in the Mediterranean. It's rather obvious one would have thought, but Mr Salvini says the rescue operation encourages migrants to come to Italy. The return to the party's anti-immigration roots could prove a skilful move, reaching some voters who see migrant arrivals as a threat.
Now the tables have turned, and even some of the migrants are warning others not to come to Italy! The life-rafts are full, and the benefits are few.
The empty-handed migrants returning to their countries, and the blocking of the boats, would be a more effective way of getting the message across!
Some of the migrants in Italy, speaking their own languages, took part in a video published online that got Italy talking this week.
"This country is in a serious crisis, and it affects migrants too," says Roshan from Sri Lanka, with a stern face. "To be an illegal migrant in Italy is to face hunger and desperation," adds a migrant from Pakistan.
The video was produced as part of the European election campaign of a candidate for the right-wing, anti-immigration Northern League (Lega Nord).
BBC news: Migrants tell migrants - "Don't come to Italy"
Of course, with any debate about immigration being quashed by political correctness and the vilifying of any "anti-immigration" debate, the message won't get overseas, and the arrivals will come thinking there will be opportunities, jobs and housing!
Only arrivals with valid visas should be entering any country. Overpopulation brings poverty, crises, and conflicts. The historic migration of the past meant that the poor, the dis empowered, and those afflicted by war, discrimination, oppression, were able to start a "new life" of better opportunities and freedom in a new country. The planet is full, and it's now a romantic fantasy, something from history books.
There are no new lands to conquer, and develop, on pure ideals of democracy and opportunity any more!

It's a matter of treaters borders as a law, or as a game.

If people can cross illegally, and be settled, or otherwise 'make it', then the border is not a law, it is a risk, part of a game. In the USA they are considering amnesty for illegal immigrants. The USA border is therefore no longer is anything legal, it is merely a place where people play hide and seek. You may win, you may lose and get to try again, but its no longer law, its just a game, a competition.

Likewise in Europe, national borders are merely a game to play a competition.

The end of a controversial Italian navy operation that is rescuing thousands of asylum seekers in the Mediterranean is likely to result in many more deaths at sea, according to human rights groups. On the contrary, while ad hoc migrants are accepted by Italy, it will encourage more to come, and more people will risk their lives trying to reach their final destination - Europe!

Operation Mare Nostrum will be replaced by a European border protection force that will have a third of the budget of the current operation. About 3,000 people have drowned trying to make the dangerous journey so far this year. Governments in Europe are at a loss as to how to deal with the constant stream of migrants, although at least more people are now being saved on the high seas.

European Union law says refugees must seek asylum in the first country they arrive in, but in reality many of the so-called 'migranti' rescued by Italy try to leave the country as soon as they get to dry land. They will leave Italy and try to make it to more prosperous European countries like Germany, Sweden or the Netherlands.

There has been a tripling in the numbers of asylum seekers coming since 2013, and critics say the Italians are encouraging people to risk their lives.

Armed smugglers threatened an Italian Coast Guard motorboat in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday as its officers attempted to rescue migrants from Libya, reports said. The armed smugglers threatened an Italian Coast Guard motorboat in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday as its officers attempted to rescue migrants from Libya, reports said. Now,the flood of self-appointed "migrants" has turned from a trickle, into a security threat!

After threatening the rescuers who had taken aboard the migrants, three of the smugglers jumped onto the then-empty migrants' boat and took off with it.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is pressing for U.N. intervention to stem the violence in Libya. Backed by NATO airpower and Qatar’s money and weapons, the militias defeated the Quaddifi's government forces. Libya became carved out between dozens of militias, which became the de-facto rulers of the territories under their control.

Italy has closed its embassy in Tripoli and repatriated its staff amid ongoing violence in Libya.

The U.N. says nearly 3,500 people died in similar crossings to Europe in 2014 and more than 200,000 were rescued. The number of migrants landing on Italian shores quadrupled last year, as more than 170,000 people from the Middle East and Africa fled humanitarian crises, piling pressure on the EU to form a long-term migration strategy. The UN are more focused on accommodating the "migrants" in their destination countries that actually address the problems that cause so many people to leave their own countries!

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday said Australia had shown the only way to stop the deaths “is in fact to stop the boats’’ and urged European countries to adopt ‘’very strong’’ policies.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop has suggested the strict Australian policy of turning migrant boats back might not work for Europe as it grapples with the flood of people smuggling operations across the Mediterranean.

The Australian: Julie Bishop casts doubt over Australian asylum policies in Europe

Geographic circumstances are very different between Europe and Australia, Bishop said. There is an effort to clamp down on people smugglers after the horror of more than 1300 migrants dying in two major boat capsizes off Libya in the past week. Successfully accommodating the "migrants" puts up a green flag for more to come!

Commenters note that "Africa was much better under colonialism. Rhodesia was one of the richest countries in the world, now look at Zimbabwe today! Same for South Africa, visit it before it falls apart entirely". ..." and so was Libya, Chad, Somalia, Ethiopia, and 90% of the rest of Africa, but the usual do gooders , Fraser one of them, decided otherwise, the natives are now the one that suffer". It's Western intervention and colonialism that's ruined any family or tribal community structures in Africa.

The West meddled too much, especially when it brought new crop strains and basic medicine to Africans, enabling their explosive population growth that is keeping them poor, violent and unable to evolve beyond their current stage of development.

Migrants leaving from north Africa for Italy do so overwhelmingly from Libya, though there are also routes to Italy from Egypt and Morocco, and from Turkey to Greece. The estimated cost of getting to Libya varies from about $200 to $1,000 from west Africa, and from about $1,000 to $6,000 from the Horn of Africa.

The people are fleeing some mixture of war, oppression, civil disorder and poverty. Most of the migrants are young men. The most immediate is a population explosion which has seen sub-Saharan Africa’s population increase from barely 200 million in 1950 to just under a billion today. There needs to be efforts to rebuild these failed nations, not keep accommodating into Europe, overstretching their resources.

Aid agencies are pushing pop growth to artificially high levels, which means that rhinos, elephants killed for their horn/tusk as more and more men see it as a way to make money, and fund Islamic terror groups. We should all just leave Africa and let them sort it out themselves, our interference in this continent just makes things worse.