Immigration is a hot topic in the Western hemisphere today. There are those in Europe and in the US who oppose any kind of immigration, and more who oppose illegal immigration. Arguments abound, especially concerning illegal immigration.
The Mayor of a Pozzallo, a port town in Sicily faces illegal immigration daily. Boat loads of illegal immigrants from Africa and the Middle East find their way to the coast of Sicily frequently. Each town deals with the matter according to their laws and their consciences. Mayor Luigi Ammatuna and his chief of staff, Virginia Glugno currently take in all who arrive, invited and uninvited, then come up with ways to deal with the problems they create. Ms. Glugno is now the legal guardian of all the the roughly 150 unaccompanied minors who have arrived in Pozzallo. She says, “I can’t imagine what mothers and fathers go through when they put an 11 year old boy on a boat and say, ‘Good luck’. They know that they will never see them again. They know that they may die at sea.” Mayor Ammatuna often goes on Italian radio to debate anti-immigration advocates. He believes that if persons who hold that view see what he sees every day, they would think differently.
Certainly illegal immigration is a bureaucratic nightmare and an emotionally charged issue. The countries from which these people are coming are curiously silent on the subject. Some government officials must justify those exiting as “radicals” whom they are glad to see depart. No one says such to the free press for to do so would be to raise other questions such as: What government regulations or cultural norms in such a county force families to up-root themselves or, worse, send their children into the unknown? History tells us that people flee persecution and tyranny.
People like freedom, but they yearn for justice. They will live under almost any kind of government as long as the rule of law is applied to all in a just manner. Democracy is as good as it is just.
I admire and pray for people like Mayor Ammatuna and his chief of staff, Virginia Giugno. They add compassion to justice, a rare but intoxicating combination, only to be used by the brave and the strong.