Just after midnight, Red Cross workers pick up a 28-year-old man, an African migrant. The altitude is 6,000 ft and it is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but he’s not even wearing a jacket — just a hoodie, jeans and shoes. One of his rescuers, Alessia Amendola, pours him some hot tea.

“Immigrants are trying to go from Italy to France, illegally of course,” she says. “We’re in the hills, where it is really dangerous.”But they’ve seen as many as 40 in one night. Most are from sub-Saharan Africa. They have already risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Italy. Now they’re attempting to get from Italy, that has made clear it doesn’t want them. However, this time, they are in an unfamiliar Alpine climate.”They don’t even understand what they are going to face,” Amendola says.

The Red Cross team picks up another migrant, delirious in the arctic cold.”Wake up! Wake up,” states rescuer Michaela Macrì, as she slaps his cheeks.He too has hypothermia, and possibly frostbite on his hands and toes. For a minute, he wakes up and claims his name — Seidu. He is from Senegal. He says he’s 14.

Inside this border area, an estimated 5,000 migrants have attempted to cross into France in 2018, according to local municipalities and help groups. About half make it local municipalities say more than 2,000 have spanned since last spring. But many don’t.”We found a couple bodies of migrants this spring during the thaw,” says Paolo Narcisi, a physician and the president of Rainbow For Africa, an Italian nonprofit medical association . “However, some bodies we’ll never recover. As there are wild animals. If you don’t understand the way, it’s easy to end up off a cliff. And no one could ever find you.”

To comprehend why migrants are taking such deadly risks to leave Italy, look no farther than the country’s vice versa and interior minister, Matteo Salvini. In late November, his government passed a law which eliminates diplomatic grounds for granting asylum to individuals who are not fleeing political persecution or war.

“You’re not imposing warfare. You’re not escaping torture. What do you have to do? Return to your country,”Salvini stated during a meeting with Italian broadcaster RAI shortly after the legislation passed. So I can not host hundreds of thousands of different folks from the rest of the planet.”

In 2017, roughly 130,000 people applied for asylum in Italy, second only to Germany in the European Union to the amount of first-time applicants. Refugee status was granted to 6,827 people; about 27,000 others received other forms of security.More than 119,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea in 2017, according to the U.N. migration agency. Figures from the interior ministry reveal a dramatic drop in 2018, using only 23,011 migrants and refugees coming — a decrease of more than 80 percent.

Migrants began passing through the Alps into France even before the recent immigration law. After terrorist attacks in Paris at 2015, France reinstated boundary controllers with Italy. This ignited a wave of migrants who sought to cross the boundary in temperate conditions close to the Mediterranean coast.

Starting last spring, French authorities cracked down on undocumented migrants crossing the border, prompting migrants to proceed to the Alpine north, where border controls are more difficult to enforce.Even the United Nations has blasted Italy’s new law, warning it’s going to violate human rights and gas despise, as well as make it harder for migrants to get shelters. It’s feared that thousands will likely end up living on the streets.

Two migrants who are living on Italy’s streets are Abdul Razak and Harouna Waija, both 22 years old and from Ghana. Razak left because of poverty, he states; Waija because he converted from Islam to Christianity. His family wanted to kill him as a result, he states.At a train station close to the French border in Decemberthey are gearing up to cross the Alps. It is the first time they have seen snow. What looks like a second pair of jeans is slowly coming from the ankles of Waija’s pants.

“It’s five,” he states. He is sporting five pairs of trousers.Razak says he knows the risks and has nothing to lose. They’ve been sleeping on the streets after failing to gain asylum in Italy. The mountains can’t be much worse, ” he reasons.”I’m worried, but I must try,” he says. “I want a better life.”Both agree to let me follow together with and are connected by four additional French-speaking migrants.

The odd car whizzes by on the nearby street as snow crunches under their feet. It’s pitch-dark out — easier to prevent detection, but also easier to get misplaced.A passerby pulls over and points them toward the boundary. Shortly, they are in the forests, just a few feet from a border article flying the French flag — and French gendarmes patrolling the frontier.

Whispers of all “la police” ripple through the group. If they get any nearer, they risk being captured.They alter class again, and choose to take their chances deeper in the woods. On the left, there is a ravine they wish to cross. Another side is completely covered in trees that they can use for pay.

I walk with them for approximately 200 yards, until the snow starts coming around my knees. I hear water flowing nearby, and be worried about falling blindly into an icy river. I say goodbye and return, and the six migrants disappear in the darkness.But after four hours of drifting in the snow, he was captured by French gendarmes and sent back to Italy.After some hours on an IV drip, he’ll be fine.

“Yesterday the cold was freezing me,” he states, with an audible shiver still in his voice. “My blood has been suspended. It had been very hard.” Going through the icy Alps, he states, is”not a fantastic way. I am regret.”

For now, the two are resigned to staying in Italy. Once spring comes and the snow melts, that is another story, they say. The seasons will change. Italy’s crackdown on migrants might not.