Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Integration minister criticizes immigrant detention centers


Rome, May 6 - Comments by recently appointed
Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge that she wants Italy's
immigrant detention centers shut down sparked fierce reaction
from the right of the political spectrum.
In comments during a RAI3 news talk show on Sunday, Kyenge
also said she will work on repealing a law passed during
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's administration making clandestine
immigration a crime, and will back giving automatic citizenship
to children born on Italian soil of immigrant parents.
"The EU directive does not require us to place minors, the
ill and the fragile in CIEs, but only people who are deemed
dangerous or criminal", Kyenge said of Italy's so-called Centers
for Identification and Deportation (CIE).
CIEs descend from so-called Temporary Detention Centers
first established in 1998 by the center-left government under
the so-called Turco-Napolitano anti-immigration law.
In 2002, the center-right Berlusconi government passed a
similar but much more restrictive law, in 2011 extending
detention times to a maximum of 18 months, nine times longer
than in the past.
Similar detention practices are widespread across Europe,
and the EU legal framework supports both restricting illegal
migrants and integrating legal ones.
Italy distinguishes itself by stressing criminality and not
human rights.
The fact of being detained simply for being an immigrant,
without any lawbreaking, is exclusive to the Italian legal code,
and a 2011 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNCHR) complained about the conditions of refugees,
migrants and asylum seekers detained in Italy.
Members of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party on
Monday criticized Kyenge's comments.
Senate PdL caucus leader Renato Schifani said Premier Enrico
Letta should "rein in his ministers", while MP Anna Maria
Bernini said the minister's comments were "misplaced".
"We need to debate these issues and we may or may not reach
an agreement. I will do my best, but we'll see", Enrico Letta
commented on a different RAI 3 talk show.
"Having a former illegal immigrant as a minister can only
happen in Italy, and it's making a laughing stock of us", said
the secretary of the anti-immigration Northern League, Matteo
"If the minister doesn't think being an illegal alien is a
crime that's her problem, but she better not be thinking of
bringing her 38 brothers here because they'll find there's no
Italy's first black cabinet minister, Kyenge, 48, was born
in Congo and moved to Italy three decades ago to study medicine.
An eye surgeon, she lives in Modena with her Italian husband
and two children.
Premier Enrico Letta tapped her to be minister of
integration in his left-right government that won its second
vote of confidence last week.
Since then she has been the target of racist slurs by
politicians of the anti-immigrant Northern League and members of
neo-fascist Internet groups.

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