Salvini Decree Pushes Migrants in Italy to Homelessness

The so-called Salvini decree, which dismantles the Italian reception system for asylum seekers and migrants, is pushing migrants who have not been admitted to reception centres onto the street, as well as severely compromising security.

The decree, which is named after the Minister of the Interior who pushed so hard for it, has finally come into force, making Italian immigration policy significantly stricter. As a result of the new legislation, many migrants, including children and the victims of sex trafficking, have been removed from the reception centres where they were living.

Decree abolishes humanitarian protection

This happened because the Salvini decree abolishes humanitarian protection, one of the three types of assistance that used to be granted to those seeking protection in Italy. The other two types are refugee status and subsidiary protection. The decree also provides for the restriction of the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR), the extension of the period that migrants who are to be expelled will spend in detention in Repatriation Centres (Centri di Permanenza per i Rimpatri, CPR), and new limits for granting international protection.

People expelled from migrant reception centres include not only those whose applications for humanitarian protection are awaiting approval, but also those who have already been granted such protection and currently find themselves in a legal limbo.

Far from creating security, the Salvini decree removes control over immigration

The Salvini decree was presented as a measure that would lead to greater security. However, it will prevent migrants from accessing a reception system that actually allowed a degree of control over migration in Italy and also helped to integrate migrants. As a result, many migrants will end up sleeping on the street after being expelled from reception centres.

In fact, Prefectures all over Italy have begun to inform reception centres that those who have been granted humanitarian protection will have to leave these facilities because the assistance they used to benefit from has been suspended. Based on current plans, the next step for migrants expelled from reception centres will be repatriation. Until then, however, these migrants have no choice but to live on the street or find other, often precarious, accommodation. This can make them easy prey for organised crime.

Less security, more violence

The Salvini decree and the immigration policy overall will have a dramatic impact on Italian society. The main concern is that this measure will destroy any attempt to foster the integration of migrants in local communities. The decree is also likely to lead to greater insecurity and harden the current climate of violence towards migrants in Italy.