New Influx of Tunisian Refugees into Italy
A wave of Tunisian migrants makes landfall at Lampedusa harbor.
Sunday evening and early Monday morning marked a new influx of hundreds of North African refugees on the Italian island after a spat of rough weather had curbed the trend.
Officials and residents are worried the growing number of refugees fleeing unrest in North Africa will affect the island's reputation as a tourist hotspot.
[Mariano, Lampedusa Resident]:
"I hope they don't go around breaking things and misbehaving, and let's hope that tourists will still come this summer, otherwise this year will be very difficult for us."
Others worry about the strain on the island's resources that could worsen with the ongoing chaos in Libya.
Lampedusa's 800-person holding facility is already at capacity, forcing officials to send the illegal immigrants to Sicily or the Italian mainland.
Though Tunisia and Libya have agreements with Italy to prevent illegal immigration, little is being done to stop the recent flow of thousands of people fleeing the African continent.