The survived immigrants of the Lampedusa tragedy, which claimed hundreds of lives in the Sicily Channel on Thursday, are now officially suspected of illegal immigration under the Bossi Fini Law, the Italian Immigration Law introduced by one of the Berlusconi’s Governments in 2002.
The law is often accused of being too repressive or even xenophobic. Many claim that is should be amended or abrogated altogether to avoid similar tragedies happening in the near future. However the relation between the immigration law in force in Italy and clandestine travels across the Sicily Channel is not so clear, especially if you remember that the majority of immigrants arriving in Italy are willing to reach other European countries.
One could instead blame the Libyan Civil War which toppled Colonel Gaddafi’s Government. Under Berlusconi, Italy had the Colonel sign a treaty obliging the latter to patrol Libyan coast, even using Italian ships with mixed crews. Also that treaty, however, was highly controversial, with many disputing the opportunity of starting such a strict liaison with a ruthless dictator, and claiming that the Libyan Government was using methods forbidden by international law in order to stop clandestine travels.