The Commission for Human Rights presented its report on migrant expulsions and deportations yesterday in the Senate to Senators Manconi and Mazzoni and Vice Minister of the Interior Bubbico. At the center of the report is the European Agenda for Migration’s new “hotspot” approach to tackling the refugee crisis.
It’s been five months since the new approach was applied in the flashpoint town of Lampedusa, in addition to Pozzallo and Trapani. The new procedures for registration and identification of persons disembarking, verified by the Commission during a visit, have aroused concern.
Immediately after landing, migrants are subject to a pre-identification: who does not have international protection, who is considered “economic migrant” and who should be repatriated.
This delicate step in many cases is nothing more than a superficial examination, which proceeds while refugees are still in shock over their journey. With such a brief selection, we risk determining entry to Europe based on an automated process rather than on careful evaluations of individual stories, which will constrain the right to asylum.
What happens to those who refuse to identify themselves? Those not identified through this system will be unable to leave arrival camps, nor will they be able to apply for asylum in Italy or access resettlement.
As is the case, migrants are held at the center for days and weeks, without the necessary validation from a judge. Formally these structures are the first welcome centers, but without the word of a judge, can become a place of detention.
Analysis of the data presented in the report highlights the number of limits of the European plan. Over the past five months 4,597 foreigners have arrived in Lampedusa, and 3,234 have been registered. 563 people have accessed resettlement services, about 12%. The groups arriving are mainly Eritreans, along with Syrians and Iraqis. 502 others, about 10%, have expressed their willingness to seek asylum and have begun the process. Among those considered economic migrants, 74 were transferred in Cie throughout Italy, while 775 have received a deferred refusal of entry, with the order to leave Italy within seven days – more than 18 percent of the total group. The fact is, people are destined to remain illegally within Italian territory.
In 2015, of the total of 5,242 people, 2,746 have been effectively repatriated (52%). Of about 34,107 foreigners intended for expulsion, 15,979 have been actually expelled.
So, while about 80% of the people who have landed in Italy have been categorized, in terms of the affects to the EU, there are not such positive numbers about people relocated and repatriated.
In addition, the flow to Italy has now changed: there are fewer Syrians and less and less Eritreans. Now it is almost exclusively economic migrants from sub-Saharan Africa that actually stop here without the opportunity to be integrated.