More than 1,000 immigrants have been evacuated from southern Italy after a recent wave of violence against African farm workers. Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project over the past decade find that anti-immigrant sentiment is widespread in Italy.
For example, in 2007, Italians overwhelmingly said that immigration was a big problem in their country and that immigrants – both from the Middle East and North Africa and from Eastern European countries – were having a bad impact on Italy. More recently, in the fall of 2009, more than eight-in-ten Italians said they would like to see tighter restrictions on immigration.
Italians were more likely than any other public included in the 47-nation survey conducted in 2007 to see immigration as a big problem in their country. More than nine-in-ten Italians (94%) considered immigration to be a big problem, including 64% who said it was a very big problem in Italy.
By comparison, a much narrower majority of South Africans (53%) – the second most likely to rate immigration as a very big problem in their country – shared that view.
Read the full commentary Widespread Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in Italy on the Pew Research Center's Web site.