Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s cabinet adopted a hardline security decree which will abolish most protections for illegal aliens, while making it easier to deport migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship. Drafted by Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, the decree would suspend asylum process for those who are fake refugees, are considered ‘socially dangerous’ or have committed rape or a crime.
The Local Matteo Salvini, who has blocked NGO so-called ‘rescue’ ships from Italian ports to cut the number of migrants arriving in the country by sea, said the new bill is “a step forward to make Italy safer,” adding that it would help Italy “be stronger in the fight against human smugglers, rapists, drug dealers” and give the police greater powers and “expel offenders and fake refugees (welfare migrants not escaping war).”
The granting of asylum on humanitarian grounds will also be overhauled to “weed out abuse”, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. The plans include abolishing humanitarian protection, a form of protection for those not eligible for refugee status but who for various reason cannot be sent home, and replacing it with a special permits system that will limit eligibility to people such as victims of a natural disaster or those with a serious illness.
The provision modifies the language of Italy’s legislation regarding the reception of asylum seekers and refugees, and raises the threshold of requirements for receiving a humanitarian permit, according to La Repubblica. Parliament has 60 days to vote the bill into law.
The decree also tighten’s Italy’s anti-terrorism laws, introduces new measures with regard to citizenship and reception centre residency, and grants greater powers to local municipalities. The range of crimes for which a refugee status and citizenship can be revoked will also increase.
Those seeking refugee status will have their requests suspended if they are considered “socially dangerous or convicted in the first instance” of crimes, while their appeals are ongoing. Asylum seekers accused of “dealing drugs or bag-snatching” will have their applications denied, Salvini said. The new law also lets local police have Taser stun guns and makes it easier to evict squatters by getting rid of the obligation of finding provisional housing for the most vulnerable.
The head of Italy’s bishops’ conference Nunzio Galantino has lamented the fact that security and the treatment of migrants are dealt with in the same bill. “This means that the migrant wannabe is already judged because of his condition and that he’s already considered a public menace, whatever his behavior. This is a bad sign,” Galantino said.