After Switzerland said ‘no more’ and closed their borders to the ‘refugee’ influx, Italy has started taking them in… and the citizens aren’t very happy about it.
George Clooney‘s wealthy neighbours in the Alpine beauty spot of Lake Como say their Italian idyll is being ruined by the influx of hundreds of migrants to a makeshift camp on their doorstep.
The picturesque area is best known as a hide-away for Clooney and a multitude of other Hollywood A-listers includ Brad Pitt, wife Angelina Jolie, and pop superstar Madonna.
But a clamp-down by Switzerland on illegal immigrants entering the country from Italy threatens to turn this chic resort into a frontier town overrun by the homeless and desperate.
Restaurant owner Maria Grazia told MailOnline: ‘I don’t want them here.
‘Italy has enough problems without trying to solve the problems of the world. We [Italy] should not have to deal with these people on our own.
‘Europe [the EU] does nothing to help us. Now they make us – me, my family and other Italian families – pay for them.’
Housewife Federica, 55, said: ‘A small number of immigrants is not a problem but now they are so many.
‘You see them arriving at that the San Giovanni station. They are not poor hungry refugees but they are big and strong.
‘People here in Como don’t like them. There are simply too many of them.’
Tour guide Denise, 67, added: ‘Immigration here in Italy is a problem, a big problem because of the huge numbers who are arriving all the time.’
Chauffeur Santi, 26, said: ‘It is good for Switzerland that they have closed the border to migrants but it is bad for Italy.
‘We simply don’t have the resources to deal with all these new people.
‘Italy has lots of problems of our own without having to try to deal with other people’s problems. It is a complex situation.
‘It is a lack of resources that is the problem with immigration. Not that we are bad people but that he don’t have the resources to deal with all of these new people arriving in our country.’
Financial consultant Emilio, 52, said: ‘Immigration is a big problem. I don’t want lots of immigrants coming to Como.
‘This will affect our jobs, our resources, and the character of our town.’
Clooney spends up to four months a year as his lake-side 30-room Villa Oleandra which he bought in 2002, officially putting the up-market destination on the international map.
He celebrated his marriage to Amal Clooney at the £7.5 million Italian home in the picturesque village of Laglio where he keeps an impressive wine cellar and tours the lake on a motor launch.
Scenes for Clooney’s heist-movie Oceans Twelve were shot at his Villa Oleandra and actors Emily Blunt and John Krasinski were married in the grounds.
Co-star Brad Pitt and his wife Angelina Jolie are frequent house guests. Matt Bellamy, frontman of the band Muse, who has his own villa along the shore, often pops in.
However those who work and live in the area fear the area is being permanently damaged.
Simona, 27, who works in a shop, said: ‘We don’t need any more immigrants here. They are already all over the town. I really hope the situation will not get any worse. Already they sleep in the park. We don’t want people all over the streets.
‘This will only ruin the tourist trade. No one will want to come here.’
Belgian ex-pat Nico said: ‘This is a complex issue. Europe has to work together to solve this problem. Italy cannot take on the responsibility on its own.’
Italian newspapers have suggested Como could become a small ‘Ventimiglia’ – the frontier town with France where hundreds of migrants set up a camp and fought pitched battles with police last year after Paris closed the border.
The lake-side town, just a few miles from the main Italy-Switzerland border, is already home to hundreds of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with more arriving every day.
Plans to set up a purpose-built migrant camp on the outskirts of Como had to be scrapped following bad-tempered protests from locals.
Instead immigrants, who have registered a claim for asylum in Italy, are housed in up to 100 hostels throughout the town. They also receive a Euro 75-a-month subsistence allowance while the demand is processed.