Italy Cracks Down on Illegal Immigration

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Yesterday, Italy’s lower parliamentary chamber, the Camera dei Deputati passed a bill that made it a crime to enter or stay in Italy illegally. (Isn’t the entire definition of illegal immigration that it’s, erm, illegal?)

In any case, Premier Silvio Berlusconi and has conservative allies approved the measure that makes entering or staying in Italy without permission a crime punishable by €5.000 to €10.000 ($6,840-$13,670). There would be no prison terms, but there could be up to three years for anyone who rents an apartment or house to an illegal immigrant.

In related news, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has urged Italy to reconsider Eritrean and Somalian asylum-seekers who had set out from Libya.

Primier Berlusconi, who also recently stated that he did not want Italy to become “multi-ethnic,” previously had ordered the ship forcibly returned to the North African nation.

Many of the so-called “boat people” — the Associated Press reports that they numbered more than 36,000 last year — arrive at the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.

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