- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2016

George Clooney’s ritzy Lake Como getaway is attracting refugees from the North Africa now that Switzerland has tightened its borders.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that over 150,000 refugees arrived in Italy by sea in 2015 and another 77,000 thus far in 2016. Hundreds of new arrivals have now set up tents and temporary dwellings near a local Como railway station — in addition to thousands already taken in by Catholic charities.

Locals are not happy.

“People here in Como don’t like them. There are simply too many of them,” a 55-year-old identified as Federica told the Daily Mail.

“It is good for Switzerland that they have closed the border to migrants but it is bad for Italy,” 26-year-old chauffeur Santi added. “We simply don’t have the resources to deal with all these new people.”

“This will affect our jobs, our resources, and the character of our town,” said a financial consultant named Emilio.

The paper noted that Mr. Clooney spends months in a multimillion dollar home with his wife, Amal. The 30-room Villa Oleandra is located in the village of Laglio.

The Sun reported Wednesday that most of the migrants are coming from Libya, which has descended into anarchy since President Obama and coalition allies ousted dictator Moammar Gadhaf from power in 2011.

Roberto Bernasconi, who works for a Catholic charity, told the newspaper, “I do not know how much longer we can bear the brunt of this mass of people who would like to cross the border but who are not willing to leave Como.”

Mr. Clooney met with refugees in Germany on March 15 as part of a project organized by International Rescue Committee. He chastised the United States at the time for not taking more migrants, saying, “It is what our country is, it is a country of immigrants. We have not recently done a very good job of remembering who we are. … It’s actually easy to dismiss giant numbers, but it’s very hard to dismiss a young child sitting on the ground crying when her mother is telling the story about how she left, how she grabbed her daughter and sat on the ground and said, ‘If I die, we want to die by a bullet because it would be quicker.’”


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