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Reportage. The Italian government is moving to reduce the number of layers of appeal available to asylum seekers.

Italian Senate agrees to restrict refugees’ rights

Soon, contesting a parking fine in Italy will be more important than ensuring international protection to those who flee their country for their lives. In the case of the fine, one is in fact entitled to three judicial levels: first instance, appeal and Supreme Court. As for the refugees, on the other hand, if the unfortunate applicant gets his asylum application rejected, the applicant can only hope for a reversal of the decision by the Supreme Court.

The abolition of the appeal procedures for asylum applications is one of the points of the decree law on immigration that Wednesday was approved by the Senate with a vote of confidence. The decision about the vote of confidence was announced Tuesday in the Senate by the Minister for Relations with Parliament Anna Finocchiaro. It was opposed by Democratic Party senators Luigi Manconi, President of the Senate Commission on Human Rights, and Walter Tocci. They voted against the measure, against their own party.

According to the Minister of Interior Minniti and Minister of Justice Orlando, to whom we owe the restrictive measures, the suppression of the appeal would speed up the procedures for examining asylum applications. The measure was strongly contested not only by the associations that deal with immigration, but also by the National Magistrates Association (ANM) and the Higher Judicial Council. In an opinion sent in recent days to the Minister of Justice, the Council denounced the risk of a “widespread compression of the applicant’s guarantees.” In the future, this limitation could eventually pave the way for a possible appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The other decision to be adopted in the decree could also be considered unconstitutional. This decision sets up 26 “specialized” sections in the courts for the examination of the appeals against the refusal of asylum claims and those against deportation orders, with judges with expertise in migration. According to some jurists, in fact, the decision is contrary to the provisions of Article 102 of the Constitution, which forbids the establishment of “extraordinary courts and special judges.” It would not be just a problem with the words “special” and “specialized” but more generally to the fact that this would create judges not experts immigration in general, but only in international protection.

The decree also provides for the replacement of CIE (the Italian acronym for Identification and Deportation Centers for illegal immigrants) with the CPR (Residence and Repatriation Centers), announced by minister Minniti. There is also the possibility to lengthen the time of detention from the current 90 days to 135. The plans of the Ministry of the Interior is to create a CPR in each region, with a maximum capacity of 100 people.

The draft bill approved Wednesday and then passed down to the House also provides to municipalities the opportunity to hire asylum seekers hosted in their territory for socially useful work, with no monetary compensation. Refugees would not be forced to accept.