As if to celebrate, the new Italian government headed by Silvio Berlusconi, has launched a crackdown on "illegal immigrants" who are popularly blamed for much crime in Italy today. Sweeping through shanty towns police arrested hundreds of immigrants, most of whom were swiftly deported with little or no legal process. (See Elizabeth Blumenthal's reporting in the NYTimes). As di Giorgi argues in his important book on the logics of contemporary penal repression, Political Economy of Punishment: Perspectives on post-Fordism and Penal Politics (Ashgate, 2006), immigrants, especially non-western immigrants, stand at the core of the fear based efforts to recast governance in Europe.
But whether criminals, or immigrants, or criminal immigrants, the governance logic of arbitrary power in the name of the victims is the same. As a Berlusconi spokesperson said of the crack down (which almost certainly violates Italy's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights):
“The anti-immigrant sweep was a positive thing because that’s what people want,” said Umberto Bossi, the minister of institutional reforms and federalism. “People ask us for safety, and we must give it to them.”