Robot Coffee Is Here

I heard on the radio today that a new gizmo in the growing automation marketplace is a coffee-making robot.

Below, the auto-brew coffee kiosk is a little plain compared to hip cafe baristas we now see in Starbucks and elsewhere.

Actually I wouldn’t mind an auto-brewer like the personable Bender (pictured), the beer-swilling robot on Futurama.

But what will the recent liberal arts graduates do for jobs if coffee shops go the way of the factory floor? A recent survey found that a third were working at jobs that don’t require a college degree, and that doesn’t count young grads living in their old bedroom at Mom’s house.

Automation has been quietly creeping up on society and is now on the verge of going gangbusters. One example: Google founder Sergey Brin is focused on self-driving cars, which he says will be available in four years. It is reasonable to assume that robotic trucks will soon follow some years after that, with a job loss of potentially millions.

The topic of automation-fueled unemployment is curiously missing from the current debate on amnesty and doubling legal immigration, favored by Republican budget wonk Paul Ryan:

Paul Ryan Defends Immigration Bill: “We’re Going To Have Labor Shortages”

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WIS.): Not now, but in the future we’re going to have labor shortages. We have 10,000 people retiring each and everyday in America when the Baby Boomers retire. We are not like Europe, we’re not like Japan in that our birthrates are really low, but they’re not high enough. Immigration, in a decade or so, can help us. That means we need to get an immigration system that works. We need an immigration system that works to bring people to this country who want to contribute. (The Laura Ingraham Show, June 19, 2013)

Could someone please tell these oblivious Republicans that America’s need for more workers in coming decades will be substantially reduced by automation and robotics? We don’t need tens of millions of additional workers imported from abroad.

Anyway, today’s automation topic is coffee.

Coffee Coming Up, Nice And Hot … And Prepared By A Robot, NPR, October 22, 2013

A new trend is brewing in the coffee world: coffee prepared by a robot, able to be preordered via cellphone and picked up at an unmanned kiosk, perfectly adjusted to your taste and ready to go.

To some, this might seem lamentable: the beginning of the end of coffee shops as we know them. No more huddling around warm cups of coffee with friends or sipping a refreshing iced latte while reading.

But to others, this might be just what they’ve waited for: no lines when you’re in a rush, and coffee prepared by a machine that is programmed to make it perfectly time and time again.

The latest company to present such a coffee kiosk is Austin-based Briggo. As Quartz recently reported, Briggo opened its first kiosk on the University of Texas’ Austin campus in July of this year. The kiosk — dubbed “The Coffee Haus” — takes up about 50 square feet of space, has a nice exterior wood design, and accepts orders either on-site or across campus via a website, informing the customer precisely when the drink will be ready. Continue reading this article

Janet Napolitano Gets Generous with Illegal Aliens in Her New Job as UC President

When Janet Napolitano was in charge of the Department of Homeland Security, the illegal alien hacks thought she deported too many of them. (However, it has been known for some time that the deportation figures of the current administration were inflated — Obama admitted the numbers were “deceptive” back in 2011.)

Below, Napolitano shared a meaningful moment in 2010 with Obama after he signed a weak border security bill to pave the way for amnesty.

In her first major address in her new gig as head of the University of California system, she made a point of plopping down some serious cash for illegal alien students who want a free ride to UC — $5 million, at a time when the university has been struggling with its budget and tuition has been marching ever upward.

In an October 19 Huffpo article, University Of California Budget Still Rocky After Years Of Drastic Cuts, the former UC Berkeley Chancelor Robert Birgeneau remarked, “The reality is that the current budget is not stable in the long run and so the challenges are not over.” Today at UC, the annual price tag for tuition is $12,192, nearly twice what it was in 2006, and an increase is likely before long.

Yet Janet Napolitano can find $5 million in loose change to make the lives of foreign lawbreakers still easier as they take college slots that should go to California young people. Illegal alien students already get taxpayer-subsidized tuition and financial aid, but apparently that red carpet treatment was not enough and now they must have special advisors.

UC Berkeley, for example, already has an office for inclusion and equity with a staff of 150 and a budget of $17 million. There can never be too much sensitive coddling for non-Americans in diversity-crazed California, it seems.

$5M pledged to aid students living in US illegally, Associated Press, October 30, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California President Janet Napolitano said Wednesday she is devoting $5 million to provide special counseling and financial aid for students living in the U.S. illegally, a move aimed at disarming critics who worried she would be hostile to the small but vocal student population.

The former Homeland Security Secretary announced the initiative in her first public address since she became head of the 10-campus university system a month ago — an evening appearance in San Francisco organized by the Commonwealth Club. She also pledged $10 million for recruiting and training graduate students and post-doctoral research fellows.

“Let me be clear. UC welcomes all students who qualify academically, whether they are documented or undocumented,” she told an audience of several hundred people. “Consider this a down payment — one more piece of evidence of our commitment to all Californians.”

Napolitano said the money earmarked for immigrant students would be used for financial aid and to hire advisers at each campus who could provide guidance on matters ranging from how to pursue legal U.S. residency to applying for graduate school.

“They do merit special attention,” she said. “Oftentimes they are from families who are very poor and first-generation, so have no one out there to talk to them about student life.”

University officials estimate that out of a student population of 239,000, the UC system enrolls about 900 students who were brought into the country illegally as children, a group of immigrants known as “dreamers” because of the stalled U.S. DREAM Act that would give certain youth a path to permanent residency.

As part of a bill signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, California this year started allowing students who are not legal U.S. residents and are therefore ineligible for most types of federal financial aid to apply for state grants and scholarships.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said later that the $15 million Napolitano pledged in her remarks — $5 million for immigrant student support and $10 million for graduate students and research fellows — would not come from tuition or the university’s state-funded operating budget. It will be drawn from reserves in accounts the system has used to help finance faculty mortgages and campus efficiency projects, Klein said. Continue reading this article

Rep. McCaul Says No to Amnesty Conference

Texas Congressman Mike McCaul (R-TX) appeared on the Laura Ingraham radio show Wednesday and was refreshingly clear in denouncing the idea of House members conferencing with the Senate to legalize millions of illegal aliens.

Ingraham: Should the Republicans in the House go to conference on the issue of immigration this year?

McCaul: No. The answer is No. I talked to Speaker Boehner directly about this. I have a border security bill, I’ve been trying to get that border secure for the entire time I’ve been up here, for ten years, and as chairman I want to get this thing finally done and that’s what my constituents want, but I am not gonna go down the road of conferencing with the Senate CIR bill and I told Boehner that he needed to stand up and make that very clear that we are not going to conference with the Senate on this. We are not going to conference with the Senate, period.

Laura, I was invited to the White House yesterday, and I refused to meet with the president because I saw it as a political trap.

I am not pushing for immigration reform, I’ve been against amnesty my entire career. I’m simply interested in getting the security piece done. And we have to do that, first and foremost.

If only the rest of the House Repubs were so forthright in denouncing open borders. The 1986 amnesty was a complete failure, all carrot and no stick. But instead of learning from past mistakes, too many Republicans want to repeat the mistake only on steroids. And double legal immigration during a jobs depression of five years duration.

Heather MacDonald Is Interviewed about California's Prospects

The California scholar has written informatively about hispanic culture, illegal alien crime, high school dropout diversity and other topics.

PJ Media blogger Ed Driscoll recently talked with Heather MacDonald about California’s multicultural decline, in particular its political dysfunction, bilingual education, graffiti as art, public safety and possible future.

Here’s a transcript:

MR. DRISCOLL:  This is Ed Driscoll for PJ, and we’re talking today with Heather Mac Donald, a contributing editor of City Journal magazine, and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. She’s also one of several contributors, including PJ Media’s own Andrew Klavan and Victor Davis Hanson, to the new publication by City Journal magazine titled, The Beholden State: California’s Lost Promise and How to Recapture It. And Heather, thanks for stopping by today.

MS. MAC DONALD:  Thanks, Ed.

MR. DRISCOLL:  Heather, perhaps the best place to start is with the most open-ended question.  California — how did it all go so wrong?

MS. MAC DONALD:  Well, Ed, there’s still much that’s right, of course.  I mean, it is one — I think it is one — I think it’s the most beautiful state in the country; as a native, I’m obviously a little prejudiced, but I think it is a exemplar of identity politics, for one thing.  There’s too many institutions that are convinced that the most important thing about its residents is their racial or ethnic national origin identity and — and increasingly, of course, gender and sexual identity.  And we see that playing out in university admissions, in ideas about crime and policing and immigration policy, and I think that’s a betrayal of what California used to mean, which was a real meritocratic ideal, that anybody who came, through hard work could really move ahead and the — the state welcomed talent and achievement and did not worry about disparate impact or racial proportionality. Continue reading this article

Pakistani Girl Is Raped and Buried Alive

Pakistan is a bad place to be born female because of the brutal misogyny deeply embedded in Islam and the tribal culture. A 13-year-old recently had to dig herself out of a muddy grave after being raped and buried alive by two men as she walked to her Koran class.

Another teenager, Malala Yousafzai, has recently gotten attention for her recent book describing her struggle for girls’ education there, which got her shot in the head by the Taliban.

Child rape is a particular problem in Pakistan because men believe sex with a little girl will cure AIDS.

Why does America continue to admit Muslim immigrants from Pakistan? Not every one is a bloodthirsty wife-beheader like Muzzammil Hassan, but why import such a barbaric culture in the name of diversity when there are many civilized people who would like to resettle here?

The 2010 Census counted 363,699 Pakistanis occupying US space, although their embassy puts the number at over 700,000.

Below, a street in the Little Pakistan neighborhood of Brooklyn has no women in evidence. New York City is the residence of more than 41,000 Pakistanis.

But back to the Pakistan child-rape story:

Teenage girl in Pakistan digs herself out of muddy grave after being raped and then buried alive, Australian News, October 29, 2013

A 13-year-old girl has dug herself out of a muddy grave after being raped by two men who then buried her alive in Pakistan.

The teen was abducted from her local village in the Punjab province while she was walking to Koran lessons.

Her father Siddique Mughal told police his daughter had been taken, but they refused to cooperate, Outlook India reported.

The men took the young girl to an isolated place and raped her and then buried her alive as they believed she died during the brutal attack.

But the girl managed to dig her way out the muddy grave and caught the attention of passers-by who helped her to a local medical centre. Continue reading this article

Rasmussen Poll: Voters Split Evenly between Obama and Tea Party with 42 Percent Each

Tuesday’s poll data was quite a surprise considered from the viewpoint of the efficacy of the propaganda media. The drumbeat Opravda voices have been incessantly insisting the Tea Party to be evil and racist, so any decent showing by the group in polling is worth noting.

Tea Party bashing has become quite the sport for liberals and the uber-left. Earlier this week Sean Penn, Hollywood leftist and pal of commie dictators, suggested on CNN that Obama employ his much-used executive pen to commit Sen. Ted Cruz and other Tea Party members of Congress to an insane asylum.

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) recently sent out a fund-raising mailer comparing Tea Party to the KKK, to much outrage from Republicans but no apology was forthcoming.

The attacks are vicious, and considerably overblown against a citizen group that merely campaigns for Constitutional government and against profligate overspending. The issues are mainstream and widely supported, yet the media gives supportive coverage to far left enemies of the Tea Party.

When George Bush was President, dissent was patriotic, at least according to the liberal press, but now not so much. It’s hard to argue against law and responsible budgets, so the debate has been shifted into emotional areas like inequality and race, with distractions like the Trayvon case taking up truckloads of ink while the debt clock ticked away.

Unlike the violent Occupy movement, the Tea Party represents genuine grassroots American values, which makes it highly threatening to the left.

With all the abuse piled upon them by powerful liberal forces, Tea Partiers have done quite well to poll equal to the President, though the details get a little sketchy. Imagine if the media treated the Tea Party as positively as it did the Occupiers.

42% Identify with Obama Politically, 42% with the Tea Party, Rasmussen Reports, October 29, 2013

Voters are evenly divided when asked whether they agree more politically with President Obama or with the average member of the Tea Party. But an enormous partisan gap colors virtually all opinions of the Tea Party.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters think the president’s views are closest to their own when it comes to the major issues facing the country. But just as many (42%) say their views come closest to those of the average Tea Party member instead. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This marks a small setback for the Tea Party from April 2010 when 48% felt closest to the average Tea Party member, while 44% said they had more in common with the president

Thirty-four percent (34%) now believe their personal views are closest to those of the average member of Congress when it comes to the major issues of the day. But slightly more (36%) say their views are closest to those of the average member of the Tea Party. A sizable 30%, however, are not sure. Continue reading this article

Kenya Deports Illegal Somalis to Homeland

In Kenya, the government is beginning to deport, er “repatriate” Somalis after the horrific Nairobi mall attack in September. The BBC report linked below didn’t like the word “deport” apparently, because it was not used.

“Repatriate” is more positive though, since it sounds like “patriot” and is based on the Latin “patria” meaning “native land.” The word “deport” also comes from Latin, specifically “deportare” meaning to “carry away” — according to the Apple dictionary built into my Mac.

And foreigners are often happy to be returned for free to their patria, where they can speak their native language all day long and live in their own culture, with no annoying assimilation expected of them.

Anyway, tensions between Kenyans and squatter Somalis are not new. (See my 2011 blog Nairobi’s Little Mogadishu Creates Unease among Kenyans.) Somalis seem to be a pain in the neck wherever they land, and next-door neighbor Kenya is no exception. Plus Kenya is 80 percent Christian, while Somalia is 99.9 percent jihad-friendly Muslim.

But at least in this case we don’t hear shrieks of “racism” about the Kenyan repatriation, since everyone involved is a black African.

Westgate attack: Kenya sacks immigration officers, BBC, October 25, 2013

Kenya’s interior minister has sacked 15 immigration officers as investigations into the Westgate mall siege continue.

Joseph Ole Lenku said the officials had endangered national security by issuing ID documents to illegal immigrants.

He also said the government would start repatriating Somali refugees to prevent further attacks.

At least 67 people died when militants from the Somali Islamist al-Shabab group attacked the Nairobi shopping centre last month.

Kenya is host to the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab – home to about half a million people – near the Somali border, while it is believed that more than 30,000 Somali refugees live in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, alone.

‘Welcomed with open arms’
Mr Lenku said the sacked immigration officers would appear in court to face the law.

The government would also be carrying out a thorough audit of identity cards and passports issued in the country in the last two years, he said.

“This exercise will enable us flush out all those who have been issued with illegal passports and other identification documents,” Kenya’s Star newspaper quoted him as saying.

“We have welcomed with open arms, refugees fleeing from insecurity in neighbouring countries but we won’t allow them to harm us,” he added in his address to journalists in Nairobi.

“Because of the returning calm in some parts of the Federal Republic of Somali, the process of repatriating Somali refugees has started,” he said.

Kenya has about 4,000 troops in the south of Somalia as part of the UN-backed African Union force which has made significant advances against al-Shabab in the last two years, recapturing the area’s main cities. Continue reading this article

Hispanic Democrat Peddles Amnesty Scheme with Mendacious Promises

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was spouting whoppers about the benefits of illegal alien amnesty on Saturday, saying he sees “rays of hope” in next week’s fly-in to Washington by business leaders to batter House Republicans into submission and that the President will deign to take a piecemeal approach (and count on Harry Reid’s conference wolves to make legalization happen for millions).

You can tell that one of the Democrat talking points is that mass amnesty is “good for the economy” because it is so frequently mentioned, even though the CBO reported that the Senate bill would reduce average wages in America for 12 years, increase unemployment for 7 years and reduce per capita GNP growth over 25 years.

Oh, and Robert Rector estimated the cost of amnesty to taxpayers would be $6.3 trillion.

The amnesty is like all the lies of Obamacare, only in Spanish.

Richardson stated openly, “Now as long as the path to citizenship of the 11 million is kept in an immigration bill, the House and Senate can move into a conference committee and then come out I think with a comprehensive package.”

In other words, walk into the trap, stupid Republicans.

Radio host Laura Ingraham has been grilling members of Congress on their position about going to conference with the Senate sharks, and she is a tough grader. She cross-examined Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on October 25 about his position on conferencing and found his arguments inadequate for a passing grade: the title on the interview reads, “Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) supports immigration reform in the House.”

The idea is that even good legislation from the House will get rammed into a legalization deal, particularly with squishy Republican conferees. Texas Congressman Steve Stockman wrote a Dear Colleague letter to warn of the conference trap.

It’s too bad more conservative radio talkers don’t keep this issue front and center as Ingraham does. Rush Limbaugh is worse than useless, and he appears to have given up. Mass amnesty is the biggest threat to the country, worse than Obamacare, because legislation can be changed, but the big-government culture of hispanics has shown itself to last for generations. And culture forms politics, not the other way around.

Camp of the Saints Author Fears for the Future of European Civilization

Jean Raspail, the author of Camp of the Saints, was recently interviewed by the French publication Valeurs Actuelles. The 1973 novel described a dystopian future in which millions of third worlders took to boats to migrate to Europe, a narrative that looks more like prophecy by the day, as Europe fears to turn away the masses of foreign invaders who demand a first-world lifestyle.

Below, Italian police on the besieged island of Lampedusa try to control Africans who insist upon being admitted to continental Europe.

The blog IslamVersusEurope has helpfully translated the interview into English, and the author is not optimistic.

Jean Raspail, author of Camp of the Saints: “Our civilisation is disappearing”, October 26, 2013

What do you feel about the current situation?

You know, I’ve no wish to join the big group of intellectuals who spend their time debating immigration… I have the impression that these talks serve no purpose. The people already know it all, intuitively: that France, as our ancestors fashioned it centuries ago, is disappearing. And that we keep the gallery amused by talking ceaselessly of immigration without ever saying the final truth. A truth that is moreover unsayable, as my friend Jean Cau noted, because whoever says it is immediately hounded, condemned then rejected. Richard Millet came close to it, look what happened to him! [See here for more on this].

Is the seriousness of the problem being kept from the French people?

Yes. Starting with the politicians in charge first of all! Publicly “everything’s going well, Madame Marquessa”. But behind closed doors, they acknowledge that “yes, you’re right: there is a real problem”. I have several edifying letters on this subject from prominent leftist politicians, from those on the right too, to whom I sent the Camp of the Saints. “But you understand: we can’t say it …” These people have a double language, a double conscience. I don’t know how they do it! I think the distress comes from there: the people know that things are being hidden from them. Today, tens of millions of people don’t buy into the official discourse on immigration. Not one of them believes that it is an opportunity for France “une chance pour la France”. Because reality imposes itself on them, every day. All of these ideas boil in their heads and don’t come out.

You don’t believe it’s possible to assimilate the foreigners welcomed into France?

No. The model of integration isn’t working. Even if a few more illegals are escorted to the border and we succeed in integrating foreigners a bit more than today, their numbers will not stop growing and that will change nothing in the fundamental problem: the progressive invasion of France and Europe by a numberless third-world. I’m not a prophet, but you see clearly the fragility of these countries, where an unbearable poverty is established and grows ceaselessly alongside indecent wealth. Those people don’t turn to their governments to protest. They expect nothing of them. Continue reading this article

Canada (and Beyond): Schools Crack Down on Halloween

The political correctness brigade has now focused its sights on Halloween, just in case some diverse kid doesn’t feel included (even though no actual complaints have been found). And what student would object to replacing the daily grind of study with some candy and goofing off? As SunTV guy David Menzies notes, one school has prohibited the munchkins from dressing up and has renamed the occasion Black and Orange Day. The Toronto School Board has issued an advisory warning about all the bad things associated with Halloween.

We have become accustomed to the suppression of Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter so sensitive Muslim headchoppers won’t feel put out, but Halloween? The pagan backstory of the celebration would seem to make it a winner to the liberal esthetic. Aren’t wiccans a protected class in leftist ideology, as evidenced by the US military being forced to accept wicca practices?

Below, even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has embraced Halloween wicca diversity.

Meanwhile, in American colleges, the PC prohibitions are expanding. Indian and Arab outfits are not acceptable at campus parties, and definitely no sombreros!

As a memo to students from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities noted:

“In particular, please keep in mind that certain Halloween costumes inappropriately perpetuate racial, cultural, and gender stereotypes,” it continues. “Although it may not be the intent, these costumes, and choosing to wear them, can depict identities in ways that are offensive or hurtful to others”

Trust-in-Government Deficit: Only 5% of Voters Believe Immigration Amnesty Will Include Genuine Border Enforcement

Recent Rasmussen poll results reflect the lack of faith with which the public regards the Washington swamp of corruption. The White House and Congress should be embarrassed, but they are incapable of feeling shame and don’t even pretend to carry out the wishes of the American citizens any more.

Normal law-abiding people, here and around the world, want immigration to be legal, controlled and reduced. But billionaires like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg want to overrun the country with cheap-labor foreigners just to make a few more million dollars.

Zuckerberg has made a show of supporting hispanic illegal aliens like Jose Varga, the annoying loudmouth scribbler. But non-tech types are just props in Zuck’s media presentations; a borderless world of free-flowing tech workers is what the Silicon Valley mafia wants.

Anyway, the little citizens aren’t buying the song and dance.

5% Think Feds Very Likely to Seal Border if New Immigration Law Passes, Rasmussen Reports, October 23, 2013

Most voters continue to put more border control first in any immigration reform plan, but fewer than ever trust the federal government to actually control the border if a new plan is passed. Voters also lean toward a go-slow piece-by-piece approach to immigration reform over a comprehensive bill.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is even somewhat likely that the federal government will actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration if that’s part of new immigration legislation. Sixty-five percent (65%) consider it unlikely. This includes only five percent (5%) who say the government is Very Likely to secure the border if it’s part of legislation that would give legal status to those already here illegally and 24% who feel it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Confidence in the likelihood of the federal government actually securing the border fell to a previous low of 28% in late June from a high of 45% in January. This skepticism continues to be perhaps the biggest problem immigration reformers face.

Republicans want proof that the border has been secured to prevent further illegal immigration before allowing legalization of those now here illegally to go forward. The president believes the legalization process and the implementation of more border security should take place at the same time.

But only 18% of voters believe those who are now in this country illegally should be granted legal status right away. Sixty-two percent (62%) disagree and think legalization should come only after the border is secured. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. These attitudes are unchanged from past surveys. Continue reading this article

Italy Seeks EU Help in African Boat People Crisis

Europe’s weakness in refusing to defend itself from a Camp-of-the-Saints-style invasion of diverse “refugees” continues to simmer. Around 350 African boaters arrived Tuesday on Italian territory, and the EU requires that the European country where fleebags land has to take them. Italy’s southern islands, particularly tiny Lampedusa, have been overwhelmed by the flood of Africans, some escaping the Arab Spring and others seeking a ready-made first-world lifestyle.

Unfortunately, European elites are too afflicted with liberal notions of virtue to see a civilization-threatening invasion when it is upon them. Perhaps Europe can absorb a million third-worlders per year, even with a bad economy, but it cannot survive 10 or 20 million annually, and there’s no reason why that number wouldn’t come if the dissatisfied of Africa see Europe putting out the welcome mat for everyone. Plus, Africa is on track to double in population over the next 40 years, so the pressure to flee is bound to increase.

Below, Africans heading for Italian territory in 2011.

Egypt, for example, is a very crowded 82 million persons, and the New York Times reported this week that disappointment in the nation’s political direction has convinced increasing numbers to leave. Naturally the attitude is one of immigration entitlement, that the millions who want to move somewhere better can do so, and the citizens of the target nation have no say in the matter.

Which they increasingly don’t, because the elites who run things have a different idea about national sovereignty.

In 2011 the Lampedusa people demanded and got assurances from the Italian government that the boatloads of Africans would stop and most would be repatriated to Tunisia, but now the problem is as bad as ever.

RT had a decent video piece about of the situation:

The IslamVersusEurope blog recently posted this item of “asylum seekers” on Sicily demanding that their claims be processed more quickly, which looks more like a riot than a plea for better service.

Here’s more from about Italy’s efforts to make Brussels get involved in sorting out the chaos by spreading the problem around.

Italy urges EU to share burden of migrant crisis,, October 23, 2013

Italy demands an urgent shakeup of Europe’s asylum policies, as it bears the brunt of a large-scale inflow of illegal migrants from the Middle East and Africa. A leaked draft EU summit statement, however, promises no radical steps until June next year.

Aseter, a young Ethiopian in Sicily, says she is lucky. She was on a refugee boat heading from Africa to Italy the same day another boat like hers capsized in the Mediterranean, killing more than 300 asylum-seekers.

She is now prepared to put her luck to test once again, by illegally crossing EU borders together with her two companions. She is not new to taking risks, as she had to first go by foot from Ethiopia to Sudan, then travel to Libya to finally take the most nerve-racking boat ride of her life.

“In Sicily we managed to avoid getting registered. It’s illegal but we need to go further north – there’s nothing here for us,” Aseter tells RT correspondent Egor Piskunov, while she hides her face from the camera.

Under EU regulation all newcomers must seek asylum in the country where they arrive. And under Italian law anyone avoiding registration is sent home.

That does not prevent newcomers from taking their chances of trying to stay unregistered until reaching an EU country with what seems to them better opportunities. Shiferaw Genene, President of Italian Association of the Ethiopian Community believes it’s only natural.

“When you arrive here [in Italy] they give you the very minimum,” Genene told RT. “There’s no jobs, no school and you sleep in the street for six months.

Italy is one of the worst European states in this regard.” 

Italy and Greece are the most affected by the influx of refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. And that puts huge pressure on their economies, already burdened by recession. Continue reading this article

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