In the video, which was published on YouTube on May 7th, five immigrants from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Angola and North Africa, tell their compatriots not to come to Italy – warning of the country’s bleak economic situation.
The controversial video was released by Northern League politician Angelo Ciocca, who hopes to win a seat at the upcoming European Parliament elections on May 25th.
“This is a country that is going through a very serious crisis. Things have been going badly for years. And even immigrants are feeling the effects,” one of the immigrants says in the video.
Another immigrant warns: “Italy, along with Spain and Greece, is one of the poorest countries in Europe. So don’t delude yourselves: now Italy can’t offer anything to anyone. Don’t come here because you will be sentenced to hunger.”
At the end of the clip, Ciocca, who is currently a councillor for the Northern League in the Lombardy region, appears on camera with his own message to voters.
“It’s for this reason that I, Angelo Ciocca, decided to put myself forward on the Northern League’s list for the European Parliament to oppose illegal immigration,” he says.
The video has been released in several versions: one in Italian and one in each of the native languages of the immigrants with Italian subtitles, the idea being to also discourage new arrivals.
Unsurprisingly, the video has sparked controversy in the Italian media.
Asked by the La Stampa newspaper whether the video was a “provocation”, the politician replied: “It’s not a provocation, but a public service.”
In an article published on a website for foreigners in Italy, journalist Elvio Pasca writes: “Maybe Northern League voters will be convinced and will write his name but it’s more difficult to believe that the appeals in the testimonials will stop the landings.
“This is also because hardly any of the migrants on these boats are looking for work, but are people fleeing from war and persecution.”
See below for the Italian and original versions of the video.