Immigrant population: 3.9 million
What the law does: Like much of southern Europe, Italy faces the daunting challenge of trying to regulate and manage massive migration inflows from North Africa and the Mediterranean. In response, the Italian government has instituted various measures aimed at curbing immigration. One of the harshest, passed by parliament in 2009, penalizes illegal immigrants with a fine of €5,000-10,000 and allows immigration officials to detain them for up to 6 months.
Reactions: Suffice it to say that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's tough new legislation has done little to allay the rising tension in Italy over immigration and its role in Italian society. This tension came to a head this January when race riots erupted in Rosarno, a small town in the southern region of Calabria that is home to some 20,000 migrant workers, many of whom are African. The riots, which lasted for two days, left cars destroyed, shops looted, more than 50 immigrants and police officers wounded, and many rioters handcuffed and detained.