Areas occupied by illegal immigrants are mushrooming in the suburbs of Rome and Milan. In Rome, dozens of undocumented migrants, mostly from North Africa and the Middle East, have set up camp in an archaeological excavation site, where the exposure of ancient ruins had been interrupted by the pandemic.
The site of more than 250 acres used to be an illegal underground landfill until 2010. Today, people live in tents and makeshift huts in this neglected area overgrown with weeds.
The daily il Giornale newspaper has managed to talk to a migrant from Tunisia living there, who arrived in Italy a few of years ago. “He has no documents, he has a persistent cough, and he does not feel like getting out of bed,” the young Tunisian said, pointing to his mate in the tent.
“Rehabilitation programmes costing hundreds of thousands of euros in public money over the years have been of no use. The area has not been cleared of waste, and migrants have not disappeared,” said journalist Alessandro Moriconi, who lives in the neighbourhood.
“In 2017, someone set fire to the illegal landfill and the garbage started to burn to a depth of more than 10 metres. Then the mayor ordered to close the area and sent away the Roma who have set up camp in the area. However, they returned some time later, along with the migrants. Four years have passed and they did nothing but spent money,” Brothers of Italy (Fdl) councillor Francesco Figliomeni has said.
There are several plans to rehabilitate the area, ranging from creating a connection to Metro 3 to building a new headquarters for the defence ministry. However, no steps have been taken to clear the area, so it came under the control of migrants and a Roma camp.
Meanwhile, the problem posed by homeless migrants and the drug den they set up has not been resolved in Rogoredo, a neighbourhood in Milan’s southern suburb.
According to a programme announced by Milan’s municipality, the whole area is to undergo rehabilitation, but only a bike path was realised from the plans so far.
Another dead body was recently found in Rogoredo, Lega party member and MEP Silvia Sardone has said. She visited the area before and is constantly monitoring the suburbs of Milan.
“I draw attention to the situation in the area from time to time but, according to City Hall, the problems in Milan do not exist. To the contrary. The left says that Rogoredo, rehabilitated by a bike path, is an area where drug trafficking and homelessness have been eradicated,” Silvia Sardone said.
The MEP noted that “Italy’s Democratic Party, which thinks that a simple bike path is enough to talk about a ‘Rogoredo miracle,’ continues to reject reality. I met a young girl who was consuming heroin with some North Africans. Immediate intervention is necessary to prevent further deaths,” she said.
Silvia Sardone also highlighted the existence of a migrant and Roma camp in another suburb of Milan and called on the local government to evacuate the illegal squatters from the area with immediate effect. With regard to the camp spotted under one of the bridges of Avenue Varsavia, Ms Sardone underlined that it “poses a health hazard to children and families who regularly use the football fields nearby. According to local residents, the homeless migrants are living an excessively nomadic life and continually harass them, and criminals have also settled in the area,” Lega’s MEP has said.
Silvia Sardone has called on Milan’s leftist mayor Beppe Sala to do something for the eradication of migrant camps and against the occupying of derelict buildings. Within a radius of just a few kilometres, there are two Roma-migrant camps and a former school that have been occupied and transformed into an some type of living quarters by illegal migrants from North Africa. Migrants have also occupied a number of additional apartments in the abandoned palaces along Pestagalli road, Ms Sardone said.
The Lombard metropolis is home to thousands of homeless, irregular migrants and, for some of them, drug-dealing and pimping prostitutes are a means of making a living. In Bovisa, one of the northernmost suburbs of Milan, a growing number of Roma and illegal immigrants are occupying and setting up makeshift living quarters in abandoned factory buildings, which also contributes to the rising crime wave in the area.
Migrants and Roma have divided up the area among themselves. They’ve moved in and light fires regularly, most recently in an industrial gas distribution building, which produced a constant risk of explosion.
A few Roma have admitted to Silvia Sardone that they receive state subsidies. The MEP has called on the municipality to intervene immediately, citing safety and security risks as the reason for evacuating these industrial sites.
“The mayor, who has been neglecting and handing over the suburbs to illegal migrants for years, is hiding. The responsibility of the left is undeniable in the matter,” said Silvia Sardone.
The representative also visited a former market, which had also been occupied by migrants. Local residents have complained on a number of occasions that many illegal immigrants are living in the enclosed spaces of the building.
While visiting the site, Ms Sardone concluded that illegal trade was still prevalent in the area.
“I remember that a woman was raped by a migrant in the neighbouring park Monte Stella park last June. The man lived here, around the former market area. Moreover, migrants are pimping prostitutes in the nearby park in broad daylight,” Ms Sardone explained.
Stefano Pavesi, Lega’s municipal representative, recalled that “the local government had promised to repurpose the abandoned buildings and create a fine arts centre. Despite all the lawlessness and series of rapes, it appears that providing security for the citizens and upholding the city’s public order is not a priority for the left.”