Immigrants, Italians are less afraid of them. Now Covid scares them more

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Threatened by the coronavirus, a powerful faceless enemy, Italians have lost (or, at least, reduced) their fear and mistrust of immigrants: the results of a recent survey by Demos. The percentage of those who believe that immigrants constitute a danger to public order and for safety has almost halved: from 46% in 2017 to 27% now. Today 52% of Italians look favorably on the welcome towards refugees and migrants, and the demand for rejections has decreased.

So much so that the “possible arrival of refugees in Italy” from Afghanistan conquered by the Taliban is the least of the concerns expressed by the Italians.

What has changed in these (few) years, in the perception of our compatriots? Meanwhile, it is increased awareness how much immigrants represent a part of society necessary for the economy, a real asset. Many manual activities, but also home care for the elderly are carried out almost exclusively by foreign citizens, who represent an important resource.

Then, in fact, Covid has jumped “to the center” of thoughts and of the fears of all Europeans and even Italians (is the “most serious problem” for 26% of our compatriots), “while they are reduced concerns that have become “genetic” in our society. First and foremost, inefficiency and corruption. The hallmark of political sentiment and social resentment of the past twenty years. Along with crime. These “fears” have not vanished. Indeed, in recent months they have re-proposed. But they don’t seem able to “overwhelm us”. Because at this stage we feel able to support them ”, explain the authors of the survey.

I know in the months of the pandemic, the issue of immigration took a back seatdominated by other emergencies, the survey data indicate that significant components of European public opinion remain very “reactive” on the issue. Moreover, migration flows, in the course of 2021, have accelerated again.

«We feel able to “resist”. Especially since we are “in the company of the virus”. Our daily “enemy”. Which is everywhere. Near to us. Around us. It worries us a lot, of course. But it gave us and also gives us good reasons to move the other fears into the background ».

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