Interview. ‘What is most striking is the use of an emergency decree for a phenomenon that has declined 80 percent in the past year. Migrants are being exploited by associating them with dangerous phenomena.’

Attorney: ‘Unconstitutional’ Salvini decree would make life in Italy unsafe for migrants

Salvatore Fachile, an attorney and member of ASGI (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione), does not hide his concern about the possible consequences of the decree on immigration and security approved on Monday by the Council of Ministers.

“Legally speaking, the Salvini decree is in perfect continuity with the previous Minniti decree, but goes even further in making the lives of migrants in Italy more and more precarious and subject to threats and blackmail, even if they are in possession of international asylum protection or even citizenship.”

The decree seems to lump together migrants and terrorists.

Obviously, the decree treats migrants as a criminal phenomenon, but what is most striking is the use of an emergency decree for a phenomenon that has declined 80 percent in the past year. Migrants are being exploited by associating them with dangerous phenomena or an emergency that must be the object of great media attention and dealt with by the use of exceptional measures. This is seen in the use of the legislative instrument chosen, the governmental decree, but also in the series of measures it contains, some of which are blatantly unconstitutional and others I would call inappropriate, which restrict the rights of citizens of foreign origin, and do so, most importantly, without any justification.

What will the repeal of humanitarian protection lead to?

Realistically, to a small increase in the number of cases of subsidiary protection, which today represent a very low percentage, but at the same time to a situation where many people who today are fully integrated and who do not represent any threat to public order will become illegal.

It also sets out the possibility of revoking asylum status if one is convicted of a crime.

This just amplifies a provision that already exists, making it easier both to deny and to withdraw international asylum protection by adding less serious offenses to those already on the list today which allow for asylum revocation. For instance, some cases of aggravated theft or threatening a public official. This makes people’s lives even more precarious and makes them vulnerable to threats and blackmail, even after they obtain asylum or even citizenship. None of them will ever be safe.

It restricts access to the SPRAR system only to those who have been granted international asylum protection and to unaccompanied minors. Asylum seekers will end up in Extraordinary Reception Centers (Centri di Accoglienza Straorinaria – CAS). Doesn’t this risk creating such places with a very high concentration of migrants that the Lega has also criticized in the past?

The legislative intent is precisely that: to abandon the SPRAR model based on small numbers, and to clear the way for the reception of migrants at large sites without any regulatory limit, allowing for greater leeway for the prefects to directly manage the funds related to migrant reception and logistics. Note carefully: we are not talking about a measure that will save any money, because the costs will be the same. In addition, the ability to create large clusters of foreign nationals will result in an increase of tensions with the local population.

The decree also includes the possibility to revoke citizenship granted to foreign nationals. Doesn’t this treat them in a discriminatory manner compared to Italians?

This is a measure that appears in many ways unconstitutional, and which once again aims to make citizens of foreign origin liable to threats and blackmail. But I want to emphasize another troubling aspect contained in the decree, which concerns the border processing procedure and detention for asylum seekers. This is where they pushed things to the extreme. Everyone who arrives at the border, whether at an airport or in Lampedusa, will be liable to be detained for up to six months, even at migrant hotspots, just for identification purposes. In this way, all the hotspots will become prisons. For these people, a fast-track procedure is set which limits their right to an appeal to the greatest extent possible. In practice, it means not giving them a chance to talk to a lawyer and to receive the information they are entitled to. Going through a normal procedure for requesting asylum will become a privilege for the few, while most asylum seekers will be subject to summary judgment at the border, for the most part while in detention.

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