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THE RISKS OF MARGINALIZING IMMIGRANTS

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Isolating immigrants? “It's the worst possible response, even in terms of security.” These are the words of a high-level government official who draws a “very complex” picture of the situation in Italy, where the economic crisis, political antagonism, the difficulties of integration and the risks of ideological/religious deviation intersect.

Various classified reports analyzed by WikiLao show that between 2008 and 2011 the employment level of non-EU immigrants dropped 6.7%. During the same period, the weight of foreigners on the Redundancy Fund rose from 4.3% to 11.4%.

Issues surrounding employment are the most common complaints, especially among the elderly and the more vulnerable and less-educated social categories. Polls show that many Italians believe that immigrants “steal their jobs”. But Italians, according to other reports, are much better paid than immigrants, whose average monthly salary is around 1,300 euros, while foreigners make about 970 euros. The gap increased by 1% per year from 2009 to 2013. And as if this weren’t enough, immigrants are increasingly pushed towards the illegal job market. These are weak individuals who very rarely report employers who don’t respect their most basic rights.

Intelligence services are taking note of the discontent of Italians, who accuse immigrants, among other things, of distorting the job market. But they are also aware that immigrants perceive their unequal treatment as a profound injustice.

This also holds true for the children of non-EU immigrants. Although they were born and raised in our country, they feel like second-class citizens because they don't have the same opportunities as their Italian peers. “Beware, these dynamics have already been observed in other countries whose problems are plain for all to see, especially in these past few weeks,” stresses WikiLao’s source.

This negative sentiment could produce a bubble of resentment in Italy too, one that could explode, pushing many second-generation immigrants into the arms of the most determined hostile organizations. There has been a noticeable increase, for example, in the number of foreigners involved in activist groups that demand the right to housing and that often encourage foreigners to occupy empty homes and involve them in public demonstrations.

Finally, there are issues that concern the Muslim community. Itinerant imams take advantage of the marginalization of Muslims and attempt to enlist young immigrants in Islamist campaigns against the West. The risk that young men and women frustrated by exclusion might fall in their net is considered “very high.”

January 9, 2015