Italian government approves tough migrant Bill

Italian ministers pass decree that makes it easier to deport migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship

Matteo Salvini is pushing through a tough migrant stand in Italy
Matteo Salvini is pushing through a tough migrant stand in Italy

Italy is toughening its stand against migrants with ministers today unanimously backing measures put forward by Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini.

The decree means that migrants could be expelled if they are found guilty of serious crimes such as rape, assault and drug trafficking.

A jubilant Salvini described the measure as a “step forward to make Italy safer”. The decree needs the backing of lawmakers.

The granting of asylum on humanitarian grounds will also be overhauled to “weed out abuse”, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.

He said protection will be given only to victims of serious abuse on the workplace, the victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and natural disasters, people who require medical help and those who showed acts of valour.

The decree was criticised by Maurizio Martina, head of the centre-left Partito Democratico, who insisted that the new law will create insecurity and foster greater illegality, while taking Italy down the risky path of denying people their rights.

Salvini and his party, the Lega, campaigned on a hard-line platform against immigration in last March’s election and their stand has been reflected in the coalition government with the anti-establishment Cinque Stelle movement. 

Italy has adopted a tough stand against migrant rescue NGOs, which has seen the country come into frequent conflict with Malta over the summer months. 

The Aquarius had its Panamanian flag withdrawn last Saturday (File photo)
The Aquarius had its Panamanian flag withdrawn last Saturday (File photo)

Meanwhile, the last migrant rescue ship operating in the Mediterranean, the Aquarius, had its maritime registration withdrawn by Panama. This means that when the ship docks it will be unable to set sail before it acquires a new flag.

Rescue ships belonging to the organisations Lifeline, Sea Watch and Seefuchs, remain blocked in Malta as investigations into their maritime registration continue.

The captain of the Lifeline is also facing criminal proceedings in Malta over what the authorities believe is the irregular manner in which the ship was registered with the Dutch authorities.

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