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Italy and immigrants

May 17, 2008

Re "Italian provincial," editorial, May 10

You do not state whether Italy's harsh crackdown on immigrants is on illegal ones or not. However, Italy and other European nations seem to be waking up to problems created by the lack of immigration control of past leftist governments. There is a lesson to be learned from the extreme reaction of the Italians, but before we condemn them, we would do well to note what gave rise to those measures.

William Ethan

Los Angeles

Your alarm at the inclusion of rightist parties in the Italian government is seven years too late. Both the National Alliance and the Northern League were in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling coalition from 2001 through 2006. The statement that you cite from Umberto Bossi -- the navy should fire on immigrants crossing the Mediterranean -- was made while he was a senior minister in Berlusconi's government. Gianfranco Fini, head of the National Alliance, became deputy prime minister in 2001 and minister of foreign affairs in 2004.

Nancy Raffaelli

Richards

Venice

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