The cruel and unconstitutional Salvini decree on immigration

Despite some infighting within the Five Star Movement, it is quite likely that Salvini's new immigration decree will be approved. But then again, it is just as likely that the Constitutional Court will rule against it, or at least parts of it.

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
The cruel and unconstitutional Salvini decree on immigration - NewsMavens
Matteo Salvini. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The government decree on immigration and security that is being discussed in the Italian Parliament is part of a bigger trend -- conflating migration and public safety. But this conflicts with the Italian Constitution.

For example, to revoke the citizenship of a foreign-born Italian when they are convicted of terrorist crimes would create unreasonable discrimination between citizens, thus violating the equality principle (Article 3) and the prohibition of loss of citizenship for political reasons (Article 22).

In addition, a decree such as this can only be adopted in cases of urgent necessity, and therefore cannot address a structural issue like the one at hand.

Since parts of the proposed decree are so obviously unconstitutional, we are left to wonder if its very existence isn't a mere exercise in propaganda.

Details from the story:

  • On November 7 the Italian Senate approved a immigration and security decree that modifies -- among other things -- migration and international protection laws and the granting and revocation of Italian citizenship.
  • Currently under consideration by the Chamber's Constitutional Affairs Committee, the decree will begin to be evaluated on November 23. The government could pressure the Chamber of Deputies to rush an acceptation,since it has happened at the Senate.  
  • The decree contains, among other things: a. the repeal of "humanitarian protection" as a general guideline, replacing it instead with different types of residency permits; b. an increase in the maximum time spent by a foreigner in centers for repatriation (from 90 days to 180 days); c. additional crimes that, in the event of a final conviction, will lead to the revocation of international protection and refugee status (sexual violence, production, possession and trafficking of drugs, robbery, extortion, theft, threats or violence to a public official); d. a reduction of the number of people who can enter the SPRAR network (a system of protection for applicants and refugees whose main function is integration: it will be limited to those who already hold international protection or to unaccompanied foreign minors); e. more difficult procedures for acquiring Italian citizenship and the possibility of revocation for crimes related to terrorism.
  • Among the many voices against the decree, the UNHCR expressed concerns over some rules that appear to be in potential conflict with international refugee and human rights law, threatening to weaken the general level of protection, especially for vulnerable people and migrants with specific needs.
  • On November 10, thousands of people marched against the decree in Rome.
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