Albanian Immigrants In Italy History Essay

This study is part of a much larger work entitled “Immigration to the female Albanian women in Milan.” Anyone interested in receiving it can send an email to the full establishment of REDS 

The reasons for the exodus 

“During the years of one-party government of Albania has touted presenting a negative image of migration as a social evil fruit of capitalism” (1) and consequently closed all the borders and prevent any attempt to leave the country. In the collective imagination the phenomenon of migration has been associated with spatial deportation of political opponents and “the sad political and military circumstances in which it has failed to locate the emigration” (2). It ‘s only since 1990 that the Albanians have returned to cross national borders and the phenomenon has not gone unnoticed. The reasons for this exodus, which has become a major way, more and more alarming, not only to be found in 45 years of hard insulation, especially in the difficult transitional phase that Albania is going through after the fall of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha. 

The Albanian emigration to Italy is certainly a “politico-economic” (3) and reflects, in a meaningful way, the Albanian crisis of the last ten years. After the death of Enver Hoxha, Ramiz Alia was not able to predict what would happen later (see Chapter 1) “his political myopia” did not allow him to prevent the disaster (4). Alia from the vicissitudes of Eastern Europe has not been able to draw some lessons. His policy of cautious reformism has disappointed a bit ‘all, faithful to Enver Hoxha, many within the party, instead asking the public to radical changes. If the principle was accepted as a reformer, at the end of 1989 had changed people’s opinions. Anti-government protests which spread across the country the successor of Enver Hoxha has always responded with reforms judged only by the Albanian side. During his five-year rule has consumed the slow death of Enver and political model has not been able to prevent the economic disaster, political and social development of the 90 (5). In early 1997 the country was plunged into a crisis arising from the unprecedented collapse of the so-called “financial pyramids”. The financial companies for the collection and management of public savings with promises of very high interest, not a phenomenon which suddenly exploded in Albania, but had already existed for at least 4 years. They gave the Albanians the illusion of a quick and easy gain by pushing many families to invest everything they owned, even the home. The reason why so many people trusted to invest their small savings, is that many financial were “publicly linked to the political leadership and the president, Sali Berisha, had reassured the public about their importance and safety (6) . It ‘s normal that in a country where it is no longer possible to derive livelihoods from the economy, the people fall victim to the promises of easy money, especially when these are done with the backing of the state.The finance has been for years a “great shock to mitigate social conflicts, economic and political.” (7) The south of Albania, Vlore, in particular, has been the focus of these financial (8). This is a city, always more developed in Albania, which receives many migrant remittances and has also become the center where dirty money is laundered. E ‘therefore understandable the “paradox” that the city is experiencing in recent years “without a real economy, manufacturing facilities and efficient investment, but lots of financial companies.” The government feared the reaction of the Albanian population of the south face of the failure of a failed economic policy and the promises made ​​and never kept in the election campaign (in 1996 there were elections, but the opposition withdrew, accusing the Democratic Party of fraud), has thought to soften the proceeds of finance. E ‘for this reason that the center of the rebellion was just Valona (Vlorë), because the population is mainly in the south who came out damaged (even if the discontent has spread across the country) (9). As stated by the sociologist Albanian Kosta Barjaba, with the collapse of the budget, it decreed the end of the “false democracy of Berisha” on which Western countries had placed their trust and their liking, Western liberal policies of “economic miracle Albanian based on a production system without structures, the end of a chaotic society, without political and human rights, where political violence, corruption and crime dominate “(10).After 6 years of transition, the Albanians found themselves in a situation similar to that of ’91, and indeed in some respects the situation was even worse in ’97. Many Albanians found themselves penniless, jobless, homeless, especially with no prospects for the future and lack of trust in political institutions (11). The rebellion erupted in the country was inevitable. Despite attempts by the government of Berisha (to maintain political power) and the Western powers (to hide the failure of monetarist and neoliberal economic policies imposed without regard to Albania’s history and traditions) to present it as a regional revolt and ethnic origin (the south against the north from which it came Berisha), the rebellion was only politics. The first protests were peaceful and democratic, but against the indifference of the government and its authoritarian and repressive policy, the rebels have decided to take up arms. Within a short time the insurgency has spread across the south disappearing all forms of state and then the entire town. The rebels, presented by Western media as barbaric and violent people, able to shoot everything and everyone (connoting so, in an even more negative, the Albanian immigrants who left their country in ’97) (12) actually only asked one thing: Berisha’s resignation, early elections and the creation of a truly democratic state (13). It can be argued that the financial crisis in Albania has opened a new transitional phase, this time even more difficult because the sense of bewilderment and distrust have become very strong. Not to mention that the release of the productive forces in recent years has assumed alarming proportions and that many migrants, after the financial shock, they no longer have invested their savings in Albania, further aggravating the economic and financial situation of the country (14). 

The characteristics of Albanian immigration 

The migration of the 90s is considered one of the most significant events of the Albanian difficult transition towards a democratic system that is struggling to take shape. By the end of the totalitarian state that he considered emigration a crime, the Albanians have begun to leave Albania. The previous migratory experiences date back many years ago. The first wave of migration is that of the fifteenth century after the death of Skanderbeg and the return of the Turks, many for religious reasons and Albanian politicians have gone to the Italian coast. The migration is then returned to be consistent between the second half of last century and the beginning of our neighbors to countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and especially Greece. Many Albanians are also directed to the Netherlands, France and Belgium to work in farms and mines.From the first decade of 1900 a significant proportion of people left the Old World and reached the Americas and Australia (15). The third great wave of migration is present within which the Albanian sociologist Barjaba distinguishes several stages and, depending on the stage, motivations and varied projects (16). 

1) The first stage is that of July 1990 when thousands of people took to the foreign embassies in Tirana and asked for political asylum. The first group has managed to cross the borders illegally arrived in Italy on July 3rd of ’90. It was six people, all men, landed at Otranto on board a raft. Following this incident, of which there is a vague memory, arrived in Italy 800 Albanian refugees in the embassies in Albania (17). Each European country has taken its share of desperate to be presented to the public as a demonstration of the failure of communist ideology and the end of an era. The welcome was warm, especially by the volunteers who have suffered from the inefficiencies and disorganization of the Italian State (18). 

2) The massive exodus of ’91 are divided into two phases, in March ’91 and August ’91, due to the change in attitude and acceptance that there has been at the institutional and public opinion. The first mass exodus occurred on the eve of the first free elections, multiparty granted by Ramiz Alia. Despite the climate of trust and hope that you breathed in Albania, 25 000 people (according to estimates by the Ministry of Interior) arrived in the ports of Bari, Otranto and Brindisi on boats. Even in this case the Italian state was unprepared and made ​​by the inefficiency of the bureaucracy has come to create “the first group of illegal Albanian immigrants in Italy (or elsewhere in Europe)” on which the media began their campaign of Albanian immigrant stigmatization. In fact, about 21,800 Albanians who remained in Italy and were distributed among the different regions, have lost track of 8,800 (19). The second quota (August ’91) was one of shame for our country.About 20 thousand people massed on the now famous ships (repeated over several days by the media and with which we also built a Benetton advertising campaign), have been locked in the stadium in Bari, in inhumane conditions and then repatriated by force or deception.In this short time period (March-August ’91) the Italian media have managed to create in the collective stereotype of the Albanian criminal and violent, making it difficult for an immigrant integration process in our society (20). 

3) After 1991 the exodus from Albania has continued more or less spontaneous but more without reaching the proportions of ’91. 

4) E ‘in 1997, with the collapse of financial companies, which has taken over the flow of migrants to take on alarming dimensions,especially in Albania, which helplessly the leak forces young people, intellectuals and skilled staff. 

Then there is the current phase of migration. Despite the efforts made ​​by the Albanian Government to overcome the crisis of ’97 and restore confidence to the population through the restoration of law and the creation of democratic institutions, the situation is still very difficult. The reasons that underlie the migration of the 90 are different depending on the period in which people emigrate, but certainly in the first place come for economic reasons. “Unemployment is a push factor towards the West both in the actual lack of work or because of unsatisfactory work” (21) or poorly paid. It thus leaves the country convinced that you can easily find a job abroad, earn more and live in better conditions. In the first phase of migration but the thrust is also the desire to know the world of isolation and making new life experiences. In this phase an important driving factor seems to have been “mass information media” that not only presented Italy as the Eldorado, but the Albanians who gave them negative image of their country, a country with disarray, with no prospects (22). In successive waves of immigration to the ’91 and ’97 especially with the crisis has left Albania for reasons of political and social order. The lack of security, democratic and efficient institutions, political anarchy and especially the lack of confidence in ruling political class have led many Albanians to emigrate.’s prediction is that many in Albania, with the passage of time, the situation will only get worse. The Albanian immigrant for this reason it was called an “economic refugee” (23), because it is midway between the political and economic. For the Albanians who have left Albania in the ’90s Italy and Greece were the first countries of emigration. The reasons, as well as practical (neighborhood), they are also cultural. In fact, many Albanians feel very “close to the Italians.” (24) 

Albanian immigration emerges as an atypical, “the involvement of significant amounts of women” (25). If early in the Albanian immigrant type was male, young and unmarried in subsequent growing number of women who decide to leave Albania. It is family reunion (it is the low number of married men who left his wife and children in Albania), but also single women (26). Another interesting fact is that there are few ties between compatriots unrelated as it does for other groups of immigrants. There are few Albanians in the country of destination share the house with friends or fellow countrymen, and almost all live with a relative or alone (27). There are two types of immigrants: those “legal” and “irregular” (28). The first are those who have left the country with a valid entry visa in Italy that was later turned into a residence permit, but the second, commonly called “illegals” arrived illegally and are unlikely to be regularized. After landing in ’91, the image of Albanians in Italy is totally compromised and repressive government policies and the closing of borders (forced repatriations, patrolling the coast) have left no other way than that of the underground. Once in the country of destination and not enough good will to come into compliance. To find a regular job is allowed to stay, but it is not allowed if first you do not have a regular job. The only way out of this condition are the amnesties or meet an employer who takes responsibility of the regularization (29). 

“One of the main channels of illegal migration is the greek-Albanian border in what the passage is on foot even with the nightmare of Greek soldiers and the risk of losing their lives” (30). This is a “spontaneous migration, disorganized and individual” (31). Many Albanians who before coming to Italy have work experience in Greece (it’s easy to find seasonal work, but always in black) to pick up a bit ‘of money. Italy remains the favorite destination in Greece because of the possibility of legalizing are almost nonexistent. The report also among Albanian immigrants and the native Greeks is very difficult. In 1997 Greece was estimated to be a presence of 350,000 ethnic Albanians. The relationship with the Greek population is about 25/30 to 1 (in Italy instead of just 450 to 1, that does not justify social alarm that has been created around the presence Albanian) (32). 

The other channels instead of irregular migration as an “organized emigration and permanent structures.” “A first channel is that of taxi drivers and other traffickers who ply with Athens and other cities of Greece” (33), the ‘other hand, most famous Italians also because the media has long raged against the Albanian people smugglers, calling them criminals and unscrupulous hand up against liability that should be sought elsewhere, trafficking in Otranto-Vlore (34). The traffic of illegal immigrants in Albania, until 1995, worked with the “tacit agreement between the state authorities” because, with migrant remittances constitute an important resource for the country (35). 

The organization’s business Vlora was able to change its structure, showing its flexibility and now the main source of income has become the transportation of marijuana and hashish, rely on illegal immigrants desperate, having no other way to arrive in Italy , accept the risk. The illegal immigrants become so cheap manpower available to the Albanian crime that has been developed, however, relying on strong ties with the connivance and the Italian Mafia (36). The choice of the Italian government to adopt restrictive measures, to patrol the coasts and to train the Albanian police to contain the flow has actually fueled the illegal immigration and increased crime. The Albanian desperate in fact, decided to leave Albania with the sole purpose of saving life, not being able to freely leave their own country is forced to turn to smugglers who asked him about the disbursement of large sums of money (which most of the sometimes do not have one). E ‘has been estimated that every night on the line Otranto-Vlore hundreds of foreign citizens (not only Albanians, but also Kurds, Chinese, Pakistanis, Filipinos) 600/650 dollars to pay each reach Italy (37). The decision to seize the boats did not make the situation worse.Transport costs have risen and in fact the risk to his life increased, as the smugglers to evade capture, they are forced to throw people into the sea (38). 

The numerical 

The immigration figures reported in this section are of two different orders: those are national figures from the Ministry of Interior and refer to residence permits, those at the municipal level, of Milan and the hinterland, are to be registered. In the first case, we find the persons authorized to reside in Italy, in the latter, who, besides being a regular in Italy, has also taken up residence in the municipality. Albanian citizens have started to migrate only since 1990, their arrival is thus a very recently that has a length of stay of more than 9 years altogether modest. Between 1990 and 1991, the Albanian immigrants in Italy has increased from 2,034 to 26,381 admissions. If 1991 to 1995 has seen an average annual increase is not significant, it is between 1995 and 1996 and between 1996 and 1997 that there has been a remarkable surge in attendance “(39) ( Table 1 ). This happened to coincide with the amnesty but also to the worsening political and economic situation in Albania. Nationally in 1996, Albania was the second nationality after Morocco, in 1998 the Albanians are 7.3% of all immigrants in Italy (40). In 1999, Albania was the nationality which had the largest numerical increase with 40,105 new residents( Table 1 ). As regards gender, the 75,650 permits issued to Albanian nationals to 31/12/1998, 47,435 were issued to males and 28,215 females (Table 2) (41). 

The total number of regular foreigners in Italy at 31/12/1998 is 1,033,235 admissions in 1997 was 1,240,721 (data on residence permits). The overall reduction of the regular presence of 16.9% compared to 1997 is attributable to the fact that the Home Office undertook a review of its records, using automated procedures for cancellation of the permits have expired before making public the statistics. The data of the Ministry in fact have their flaws, relating in particular to non-cancellation, however, undergo periodic audits involving just the removal of duplication and permits not renewed. This has led to a drop of 207,486 residence permits valid in 1998 than in 1997 “(42). 

From Table 1 we can see that the corrections occurred in 1998 are not allocated proportionally to all nationalities. In absolute figures, we note that while Morocco had an increase of 10,875 admissions, Albania has had a decline of 8,157 units. As regards the presence of Albanian women in Italy, the data are collected in Table 2. It ‘s interesting to note that the ISTAT data (1991 to 1996) differ from those of the Ministry of Interior (see Table 1 ), since it is a process them. ISTAT data are usually considered “more correct” because it will make a ministerial review of the data. To understand the migration phenomenon in its real size, however, should be considered even illegal aliens, in which case you can only refer to estimates. With the amnesty you can get an idea of the degree of irregularity. According to the Ministry of Interior estimates the irregularity in Italy were, in 1998, 236.000/295.000 foreigners, and 23/27 irregular present in 100 (minimum and maximum). Again according to the ministry estimates the largest contribution to the collective is due to the illegal Moroccan (25 to 32 000 cases) and Albanians (19/25 thousand cases) and as we saw at the top of the list are also as regards regular attendance (43). With regard to the amnesty that is to say, have been launched to absorb much of the irregularity, offer many the chance to get out from illegality, for others it represents a real incentive to enter our country. There is a draw effect that is evident by the number of applications, higher than the estimated number of illegal immigrants before the amnesty. Once the decision is announced only the number of illegal entries to increase returns significantly.

The Italian Government’s action 

Italy, as compared to the rest of Europe a country of recent immigration (although by now the phenomenon has been present for decades in the area, so it can no longer justify the inadequate policies on immigration), has always focused His studies on migration in output, neglecting all but the incoming (49). Therefore, when the phenomenon has begun to affect even our country, Italy has found itself unprepared both from a theoretical point of view than from a standpoint of efficient public facilities and capacity to launch appropriate social policies. Our country is in fact , has always treated immigration as a problem of public order, and this choice has impacted on public opinion that has been induced to consider the stranger as a social problem first and then as a matter of public policy. The immigrant is no longer just be a side affect that balance social and economic background, but also becomes socially dangerous. 

As for the Albanian immigration, with a minimum of political foresight would have been possible to predict the arrival of thousands of people how to actually happened in ’91. The first paradox of the Italian political show back in ’90 had already occurred when the first landings of refugees. When now the Government of Ramiz Alia was collapsing and it is unthinkable to believe that a country like Italy was not aware (also because in July of ’90, the Italian Government decided to accept 800 Albanian refugees in foreign embassies in Tirana and initiate the so-called “State-Regions Conference,” which distributes the refugees in various parts of Italy to reduce its presence in the south of the country) (50), it was decided to adopt the law 39 / ’90, which aims to “stabilize only those foreigners who are on the Italian territory as of December 31, 1989. ” The law therefore does not provide for the Albanian exodus and therefore “does not provide shelter for the population” (51).

The first mass exodus, however, that in ’91, is followed by a warm welcome by the people of Puglia that surprises even the local and national authorities. Civil society and voluntary associations are able to handle the emergency compensating for the lack of preparedness of the government. In the face of massive exodus, especially in front of the hospitality of the local population, the Italian Government exemption to the law 39 / ’90 to be able to adjust so the new arrivals from Albania. The derogation from the law provides that Albanian immigrants are welcomed and can legally work in Italy only if they satisfy the requirements of political refugees, however, that few individuals possess (52).

Even with the exodus of March ’91 it was clear that the Italian government would not recognize the new arrivals as refugees. As soon reach tentative signs democratic Albania, the Italian government is more effective to consider Albania is a democratic country so they can avoid accepting new refugees. From that moment the Albanians are regarded as “economic migrants” and as such may be returned if not prove to be in possession of a valid permit or a regular job in Italy.”With a circular from the Ministry of Labour has allowed the Albanian immigrants inclusion extraordinary as unemployed, thus granting a temporary residence permit expiring on July 31, 1991, the date by which those who had not found jobs were repatriated” (53 ). Another paradox occurs with the second mass exodus (August ’91). After only five months after the decision to grant the Albanian population, the Government shall, with the new refugees, a totally different attitude.What had happened in just five months? The Italian press had begun to create the stereotype of the Albanian and violent crime and thereby influence the public that, unlike the months of March, it now shows indifference towards the new arrivals. The government does nothing to counter the campaign of criminalization in place and subject to the indignity of a newcomer who is quick around the world: the refugees are locked up in the stadium in Bari, with a temperature of 40 ° and in a short time are all returnees (54). Since then, the Italian government has always approached the Albanian immigration in “economic form” drifting from the popular sentiment crafted by the media (55). 

In the fall of 1991 Italy gave birth to the so-called “Operation Pelican”.The military-humanitarian operation (using military personnel and civil) began September 30, 1991, lasted only three months, but actually extends throughout 1992 and plans to send economic aid (food and materials first for the industry). One of the declared aims of the mission is the sorting of aid (which might be better to entrust the Albanians themselves, perhaps by providing the necessary technical means, helicopters, trucks, lifters, allowing thousands of Albanians to have a job), but above to “prevent new arrivals of illegal immigrants in Italy, both by improving the economic situation in Albania, and through the patrol of the coast” (56). Operation Pelican, however, is not able to improve the situation in Albania and is not able to be a good example of cooperation (57). 

In ’97 the emergency occurs again, this disaster also predictable, but that Italy would prefer not to see. The damage caused by the regime of Sali Berisha is now evident, but Italy, which together with other European partners had “pointed at him all the cards” (58), supports up to the last. Once again the massive landing of ’97 highlight “the institutional failures, lack of efficient public facilities and the importance of volunteering, this time in the front row to cope with the emergency” (59). On March 20 the government declared a state of emergency throughout the country and launches dL (No. 60 of 1997) on the “extraordinary interventions to address the exceptional influx of non-EU foreigners from Albania.” The aim is to “give mayors and prefects quickest way to fix the Albanians.” The elements “dangerous” but they must be repatriated immediately, even if the methods adopted to detect them are quite questionable (scars, tattoos, testimonies of persons belonging to the Albanian secret service ,…) (60). After seven years since the first landing of Albanian refugees immigration, which now has become a structural phenomenon, continues to be managed in an emergency situation and the media continue to pass criminal invasion for the arrival of people who actually run away from political chaos and Economic seeking a better future (61). The Albanian crisis of ’97 and the inadequate action of the Italian government come to light with the decision to close the border and patrolling the coast until you get to the tragedy at sea of ​​the Strait of Otranto, 29 March. With the crisis of ’97 is starting a new operation in Albania, “Operation Alba”, “presented as a humanitarian mission under the cover of a multinational protection force, led by Italy” (62).The aim is to restore order and democracy in a country where the weapons are in the hands of people who loudly demand the resignation of Sali Berisha and the return of money lost in the financial scam. The Western powers, some of which have combined to create this serious crisis by supporting Sali Berisha, decide now to be bearers of peace and order. 

In 1998 Italy enacts Law 40, which actually commits it to close its borders, as desired by the Schengen agreements, as Italy is a bridge to Europe and America. The wave Albanian mainly to blame for having arrived at a difficult moment for Italy and for Europe. The sacrifices required to enter the local population in Europe have been remarkable and unemployment rates in Europe are among the highest in the century. The law 40 / ’98 ride this crisis. Since there is no work and resources can accommodate the people only through the determination of annual installments (63). Italy, especially after its integration into the Schengen system, began a policy of opposition to illegal immigration that has led to very effective. The inability to migrate freely (take our country, immigration, prohibitionist policies) and on a regular basis, inability to respond to the legal need to emigrate, leading to the growth of deviant behavior. This need is satisfied by the fact that organized crime provides job opportunities for foreigners in illegal activities. Reproduction of the irregularity in Italy depends primarily on the difficulties of legal entry for work and the difficulties of maintaining regularity by those who managed to access it. The amnesties are the only way in which you try to stop increasing irregularity which, paradoxically, is the result of prohibitionist policies

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