The Italian government approved a decree on Monday making it easier to deport immigrants and to remove their Italian citizenship.
The new order unites Italian laws on migration and security. Italy has been the disembarking point for hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing political and economic hardship from the Middle East and Africa.
Premier Giuseppe Conte’s cabinet approved the decree, which must still be approved by the federal legislatures. Under the order, migrants can be quickly expelled if found guilty of serious crimes like terrorism, rape and assault. In the past, expulsion was only possible after a lengthy appeals process.
The Rome government consists of a coalition of the right-wing League party and the Five Star Movement, a party described as populist, anti-establishment and skeptical of the European Union. It came to power in June on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy.
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The decree also calls for denial of asylum for migrants accused of drug dealing, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said. Salvini has been prominent in the crackdown on immigration since his party came to power. Last month, he personally intervened in a standoff involving the disembarking of 150 migrants from a coast guard ship off the coast of Sicily.
“I’m happy. It is a step forward toward making Italy safer,” he said Monday.”To fight more mafia and smugglers, to reduce the costs of exaggerated immigration, to expel more quickly delinquents and fake refugees, to remove citizenship from terrorists, to give more power to the police. From words to deeds, I go forward!”
Salvini reinforced his comments at a press conference later Monday.
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“Asylum seekers’ applications will be stopped in a case in which there is social danger or a conviction at a first-instance trial,” he said, calling the section on revocation of citizenship “absolute good sense.”
Salvini added the government also intends to “close all Roma camps by the end of the current parliamentary term,” a reference to the itinerant ethnic group.