Patricia Thomas, Comcast News, March 14, 2011
Marine Le Pen, the daughter of France’s longtime far-right leader who now heads his National Front party, on Monday advocated turning migrants back to sea before they can reach European shores after she toured a center for illegal migrants on Italy’s southernmost island of Lampedusa.
A group of young protesters yelled “racist” at Le Pen as she toured the island, where some 8,700 north Africans have fled unrest that has spread from Tunisia to Egypt and Libya since January.
“Europe is impotent and has not come up with any solution,” Le Pen said. Instead of patrolling near European shores, she said Europe’s navies “in reality . . . should go as close as possible to the coasts from where the clandestine boats departed to send them back.”
Europe, she said, cannot handle the influx, which “is adding poverty to poverty, and disorder to disorder.”
She warned that the migrants were arriving “in proportions that Italy can no longer handle.”