Some information you should know about the decree from the Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, and how it will drastically affect migrants (and those who strive to help them) in Italy:
Issued among a rise in hate attacks as well as increasingly xenophobic anti-foreigner rhetoric from Italian politicians, the UN has condemned both this decree’s inevitable concessions to human rights violations, as well as the increasing criminalization of rescue groups, solidarity action, and those fighting to protect migrants’ rights. The security-and-immigration decreto di Salvini aims to further restrict immigration policy in Italy.
There are several ways in which this decree further marginalizes people in transit, rendering them vulnerable to several risks, not the least of which human trafficking, with no access to services or shelter.
Here are the main changes underway:
No more protection for ‘humanitarian reasons’: this form of protection previously allowed police to issue a residence permit for those who had ‘serious reasons’ to need humanitarian protection. Some estimates put the percentage of migrants with this kind of residence permit in Italy as high as 70 percent (those classified as ‘economic migrants even more so), meaning that with the new decree these people will be unable to renew their permits, and will likely lose all the services, SPRAR (protection system designed, funnily enough, to combat social exclusion), accommodation, etc that goes with it.
International protection more easily revoked: before the decree, it was possible to have protection revoked if they presented a danger to the public in cases of a conviction in murder, rape. Now several more minor offenses can constitute a revocation, including some offenses of theft and provoking a public official.
Immediate procedure on decisions of revoking protection: in the event that a refugee is subjected to criminal proceedings (even without a final ruling) the police must report this to the Territorial Commision, who must then and there see the applicant and make a decision to reject them or not. If their application is rejected, they must leave the country, even during a pending appeal.
Time detained in CPRs: Before the decree, foreigners could be detained in a repatriation center (CPR) for maximum 90 days. The decree doubles that, even tho the legislator prior to the decree attempted to decrease the 90 day limit as it has proven expensive, inefficient, and merely a penal measure. This is in addition to the possibility introduced by the decree to detain migrants in hotspots for up to 30 days, resulting in a total of 210 possible days of detention – 7 months.
Withdrawal of citizenship: the decree allows for those who’ve already been granted citizenship to have it revoked if they pose a threat to national security, such as a final ruling on terrorism charges.
This decree is shamelessly racist and xenophobic, embracing a climate of discrimination and inciting hatred. It targets especially migrants from Africa and Roma peoples, who have already suffered a rise in violent hate crimes. It furthermore presents ever greater risks from traffickers and other criminal groups as they have all the fewer legal means of meeting even their most basic needs. This is not to mention the fact that is hurts Italian citizens as well – it has been demonstrated several times over that exclusion leads to increased social tensions and therefore conflict.
The struggle to implement a Europe-wide system of solidarity that guarantees safety, dignity, and inclusion of all human peoples continues…