Italy’s Shanty Towns

“The Italian Paradox on Refugees Reflect Paradox Asylum” by Elisabetta Povoledo, for the New York Times:

The abandoned university building on the outskirts of Rome, colloquially known as Salaam Palace, was once a sparsely populated makeshift shelter where new arrivals from Africa — fleeing war, persecution and economic turmoil — squatted to create their own refuge.

Over the years, scattered mattresses were joined by sloppily plastered plywood walls, slapdash doors and scavenged furniture. Today, an irregular warren of tiny rooms includes a small restaurant and a common room. On a recent cold afternoon, a hammer clinked as a bathroom was added to a one-room apartment where an oven door had been left open for heat.

More than 800 refugees now inhabit Salaam Palace, and its dilapidation and seeming permanence have become a vivid reminder of what its residents and others say is Italy’s failure to assist and integrate those who have qualified for asylum under its laws…

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