The Italian chamber of deputies has adopted a decree law proposed by far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini, clamping down on immigrants by restricting residency permits and expediting the expulsion of migrants deemed to be “dangerous”.
The new law, which was passed on Wednesday by 396 votes to 99, is divided into three pillars: immigration, public security and the fight against organised crime. In the area of immigration, residence permits, which had been granted to migrants for humanitarian reasons and lasted for two years, will be replaced by various other permits, including a one-year permit for “special protection” or six-month permits for people escaping natural disasters.
In addition, international protection will be denied if the immigrant has a conviction for the crimes of rape, drug dealing, robbery or extortion.
The new law will extend the period during which immigrants can stay in the identification centres, going from the current 90 days to 180, a period that the government of the Eurosceptic 5 Star Movement and the League consider appropriate to identify the applicant.
In addition, more funds are allocated for the voluntary repatriation of immigrants and the protection of those who return to their country of origin will be withdrawn, except where there are “serious and proven reasons”.
The new law also foresees the use of electric tasers for the first time by local police, and increases jail time for people who promote illegal occupations of public or private buildings.
Matteo Salvini, who championed the law expressed his “enormous satisfaction, not as a minister, but as an Italian citizen”, because, the law “will bring more tranquility, order, rules and serenity to the cities”.
Some 200 people demonstrated outside Parliament against the passage of the controversial law, which critics argue is xenophobic and draconian.