ok, maybe they weren't exactly illegals.
Italy has been giving temporary residence permits to many of the roughly 26,000 Tunisians who have gone to Italy to escape unrest in northern Africa in recent weeks. Many of the Tunisians have family ties or friends in France, the country's former colonial ruler, and the Italian government says the permits should allow the Tunisians to go there under accords allowing visa-free travel among many European countries.
France says it will honor the permits only if the migrants prove they can financially support themselves and it has instituted patrols on the Italian border — unprecedented since the introduction of the Schengen travel-free zone — bringing in about 80 riot police last week. Germany has said it would do the same.