Italy adopts law to curb migrants

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#1
Italy's parliament has given final approval to a law criminalising illegal immigration and allowing citizens' patrols to help the police keep order.

The new measures have been strongly criticised by human rights groups and the Vatican.


Story:

Illegal immigration will be punishable by a hefty fine and those who knowingly house illegal migrants will face up to three years in prison.

The law also extends detention periods for illegal migrants to six months.
It was passed in the Senate (upper house) on Thursday, with 157 in favour and 124 against. The lower house passed it in May.
The unarmed citizens' patrols are among the most controversial measures. A right-wing uniformed group called the Italian National Guard was set up last month, likened by some to Benito Mussolini's Fascists. It vowed to start patrolling the streets.



But Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the group, which sports beige uniforms and black military-style hats, would not be allowed to mount street patrols.

Mr Maroni, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League, has steered the legislation through parliament. The party is a key ally of Italy's right-wing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and made tougher measures against immigration a condition of its support for his re-election last year.

The new law makes illegal immigration punishable by a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 euros (£4,276 - £8,553). It also requires parents registering a birth to present documents proving that they are legal residents.

Italy has just introduced a policy of returning boatloads of migrants to Libya before they can claim asylum.

The government says it faces an unmanageable flood of immigrants, many arriving on outlying islands which do not have the means to cope.

More than 36,000 migrants landed on the shores of Italy last year - an increase of about 75% on the year before.

Critics say the government is targeting especially immigrants and Roma (Gypsies).
The Vatican said the new law was "focusing on crime and leaving integration completely out of the picture".
I don't know why I always had the impression that Italy was soft on immigration. It's probably related to yearly (?) amnesties they give to illegal immigrants. Or at least it's what I heard from some who entered EU through Italy and when they had their papers, they moved here.

What do you think of the use of citizen's patrols? I wonder what they do exactly.
 

Bjarki

Registered Member
#2
What do you think of the use of citizen's patrols? I wonder what they do exactly.
I'd be very wary about legalizing such a thing. It seems the government has no hand in them at all.. so it's members may have dubious extreme right motivations and are probably not too civil when it comes to dealing with immigrants they find.

It's a good thing the government is finally starting to close the floodgates though. I dare say it has a detrimental effect on Italy as well as on the rest of the Union.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#4
I'd be very wary about legalizing such a thing. It seems the government has no hand in them at all.. so it's members may have dubious extreme right motivations and are probably not too civil when it comes to dealing with immigrants they find.

It's a good thing the government is finally starting to close the floodgates though. I dare say it has a detrimental effect on Italy as well as on the rest of the Union.
Last year, someone posted though that Italy was already tough on immigration. So I'm confused with what really their status was about before this new law.
 

Bjarki

Registered Member
#5
I'm not sure, but it could be the 'regime' presents itself as tough to the outside world, while in practice allowing a fairly easy entrance and stay. Could be a stereotype, but I've always thought the Italians are rather good at speaking big words and making lots of promises when in practice they generally fail to deliver.

But like I said, just guessing.
 

Sim

Registered Member
#6
Maybe the impression Italy is soft or tough on immigration is based on different stances for legal and illegal immigration. Well possible they are very soft on legal immigration, but tough on illegal immigration or vice versa.

When it comes to illegal immigration, being "tough" is not so much a matter of law anyway, but a matter of law enforcement. Maybe it's like Bjarki says: They may have very tough laws, but are lacking will or means to enforce it, hence the impression arises they are "soft" and let so many people in.