At least 1,000 Tunisian immigrants have flocked to an Italian island in the Mediterranean to escape unrest in that nation.
The UN refugee agency says over the past month, at least 1,600 Tunisians have landed on Lampedusa, an Italian island closer to north Africa than it is to Italy. More than half of the refugees arrived in the last 24 to 48 hours.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Friday he says the fleeing Tunisians have created a real humanitarian emergency and Italy has appealed to the European Union for assistance.
Maroni expressed fear that criminals or terrorists could be among the fleeing Tunisian citizens.
Once more, only the U.S. is forbidden to protect its borders from illegal immigration.