Italy’s new right-wing government has announced a crackdown on immigration-linked crime, delivering on a campaign pledge that helped it win elections last month. Close to four hundred suspected illegal immigrants have been rounded-up across the country, many of them Roma people from Eastern Europe. Some may face immediate deportation.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is readying new measures to screen immigrants and expel those breaking the law, some aimed specifically at the Roma. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, from the anti-immigrant Northern League, has held an emergency meeting on the issue with his visiting Romanian counterpart Cristian David.
At a press conference afterwards, Maroni said Italy planned no “mass expulsions,” and that Italy and Romania had agreed to set up a joint workforce on immigration and crime.
The Romanian government fears Italy’s crackdown could cause a backlash against other law-abiding Romanians in the country.
The Interior Minister, Christian David said: “I would like to emphasize that the majority of this community is perfectly integrated.”
The Ministers’ meeting came after some Roma living in camps outside Naples were forced to flee their homes which were torched by locals.
A teenage Roma girl was accused of trying to steal an Italian baby last Saturday.