Fortress Italia (Part 3)
In the first half of 2014, more than 63,000 migrants ventured to Italy by sea from North Africa. Due to current European Union immigration laws, those who successfully reach Italy — about 3,000 have drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean — often end up stuck there.
If their asylum claims are accepted, the first stop for African migrants is often the cash-strapped Calabria region in the south of Italy. Residency permits can be subject to interminable delays, leaving migrants stuck in limbo. Unable to provide for themselves and without official documentation, their best option is irregular agricultural labor, which exposes them to financial exploitation. The situation became so dire in 2010 that the small agricultural town of Rosarno in Calabria saw some of the worst race riots in Italy's history.
VICE News traveled to Rosarno alongside busloads of newly arrived — and heavily guarded — migrants. Tensions in the town were still running high, with migrants living in Third World conditions despite being in an EU member state.