Written by Kenzie Kesselring, Opinions Editor
EDITOR’S NOTE: During his interview with Kesselring, Christopher chose to keep his full name private. Kesselring is currently studying abroad in Italy.
Similar to the United States and other developed countries around the world, Italy has seen a recent spike in immigrants coming in search of a better life.
According to National Geographic, in 2014, Italy has seen an 823 percent increase in the number of immigrants coming into the country. Italy’s geographical placement makes it the easiest place for African refugees to flee when searching for a new life.
This recent spike in immigration is causing both economic and racial issues throughout Italy. The country is having a difficult time accommodating the large wave of migrants coming into the country and the racial tensions often run high between Italians and African.
The frustration from both parties’ is stemming from the current lack of jobs in both the informal and formal economic market of Italy.
Christopher, a 20-year-old Nigerian immigrant currently living in the Tuscan region of Italy made the risky decision to leave his home country in search of work to provide for his family.
After the death of his father, Christopher, being the oldest son, became the primary care giver for his family. Due to the corrupt nature of the Nigerian government, and the lack of opportunities in Nigeria, Christopher thought it would be best to search elsewhere for a way to support his family.
He began his journey in Libya three years ago. Between being unsuccessful in his search for employment and frequent harassment by the Libyan police force, Christopher decided Libya provided no more opportunities for him than his home country did.
“They kill everyday,” Christopher said, describing the brutality of the Libyan police force.
This is when Christopher decided to take the risky journey to Italy. After leaving his house at 2 a.m. and paying 1,000 U.S. dollars, Christopher boarded a boat from the coast of Libya for a grueling day and a half long boat ride to Lampedusa, Italy.
During his trip, two people on his boat of 360 died due to the unsafe conditions. His boat also broke down during the journey and Christopher was rescued by a European non-profit organization that helps migrants make it safely to shores of Italy.
“That was my first time on a boat,” said Christopher. “There were two people who lost their life.”