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Italy Cracks Down on Immigrants, Roma Population

Italian authorities arrested hundreds of alleged illegal immigrants yesterday, in a crackdown that included a raid on a Roma (Gypsies) housing camp. Earlier this week, many Roma living in Naples fled the city, after their homes were set on fire by residents. Immigration authorities target the Roma population, a group that carries the perception of criminality.


The Roma people, Europe's largest minority, are often stateless — meaning they are without citizenship documents from any country. Their ancestors migrated from modern day India at the beginning of the second millennium. They have their own language and distinct cultural traditions. You may know them as the people who suspiciously linger around Europe's tourist attractions. Since their migration, those who have not successfully assimilated have been the victims of enslavement, forced sterilization, genocide, discrimination, and overall marginalization.

Fortunately, increased attention given to the Roma population by international organizations has decreased human rights violations. Of course, more can be done.

Do you think the arrests in Italy are an appropriate law enforcement response, or are the authorities giving into a hostile and prejudice majority? Do immigration solutions become more complicated when there is nowhere to send undocumented residents?

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