Italy: Not the Wonderland You Thought

Mass Uproar over Refugee Crisis


Italy has greatly suffered from what is commonly known as “The European Migrant Crisis” over the past three years. Since the crisis began, Italy has accumulated an estimated 500,000+ immigrants. This has greatly affected locals, tourists and the refugees themselves.

March 15, 2011 marked the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. Since then, over 500,000 people have either been killed or gone missing in Syria. With the continuation of war and conflict, many people continue attempting to leave Syria. This and similar conflicts account for the mass immigration into Europe.

In the last seven years, over 900,000 Syrians have either sought or attained asylum within the European Union (EU). Italy ranks third in EU countries who have granted asylum to refugees. In addition to the Syrians, 690,000+ people have arrived in Italy by boat from sub-Saharan Africa since 2013.

Many Italians are in an uproar. They say the influx of refugees is doing further harm to an already unstable economy. The cost is approximately $40.60 per day to house and feed these immigrants in Italian “Welcome Centers.” In a country where the average household net-adjusted disposable income is $26,063 per year, $40.60 per day per refugee is a rather significant amount of money for the taxpayers.

Despite the massive number of immigrants, tourism numbers are at their highest in Italy. During the summer of 2017, almost fifty million tourists spent time in Italy during the summer months of June, July and August.  

In more popular cities like Venice, Rome and Naples, street peddlers are at every turn. On every heavily-traveled street, there is someone asking tourists for money, trying to sell them something, or pressuring them into giving money.

Italian citizens are suffering from loss of income because of the influx of non-resident immigrants. Income via tourism accounts for 14.3 percent of the Italian GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The increased presence of street peddlers in Italy takes away from income of the already established Italian businesses.

Italian citizens and those vacationing in Italy are not the only ones being affected by the crisis; the migrants themselves are among the most negatively affected. Hundreds of thousands of these migrants have been displaced over the last several years by not only looking for a better life but by trying to hold on to their lives. Thousands of these immigrants have lost their lives while trying to migrate.

Recently, the Italian government has decided to forcibly remove around 500,000 immigrants living in Italy illegally. According CNBC reports, Matteo Salvini—now Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister—said that Italy had to stop being “the refugee camp of Europe.”

The Italian government is currently working on a plan to put all the immigrants on planes and send them back to their home countries, a process that will prove to be difficult. Italy will have to come to agreements with each of the countries involved. Communicating and agreeing on a contract is going to be a lengthy and complicated process for the Italian government.

Italian officials plan to get this project off the ground as soon as possible to save the taxpayers as much money as possible. This plan is hoped to lessen the weight of the financial crisis in Italy.