Sicily has borne much of the brunt of the large wave of migrants coming into Italy. But despite this, the mayor of Palermo has declared his love for migrants saying that the future of Italy is “Google and Ali the immigrant”.
Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando declared his love for newly arrived migrants from Africa, most of them coming into the country illegally claiming to be asylum seekers, in a largely pro-migrant article published by French centre-left newspaper Libération.
“If you ask me how many immigrants there are in Palermo, I do not answer 60, 70, or 80,000. Anyone who arrives in Palermo is a Palermo,” Orlando said.
“The future has two names: Google and Ali the immigrant. Google expresses the virtual connection and Palermo is today the best wired and computerised city in the entire Mediterranean. Ali the migrant represents the human connection. We want to be a welcoming and modern city,” he added.
Around a million people have arrived in Italy in the last three years from Africa. Although the number arriving has considerably declined after the Italian government enacted stricter rules of conduct on pro-migrant NGO ships, many migrants remain in Italy.
According to Mayor Orlando, migrants are also a means to combat the local mafia. “Until I was 30, I did not see a single immigrant in Palermo. Because the mafia was pushing them away. They are afraid of diversity,” he said and added: “Since I became mayor and the mafia no longer governs the city, something extremely beautiful has happened: we have been invaded by immigrants.”