Salvini Decree hindering immigration

On Monday, Sept. 24, the Italian government issued a strict decree on immigration, calling for tougher standards in order to qualify for humanitarian protection. The decree, also known as the Salvini Decree, was created by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and approved by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, will be converted to law within 60 days.

The Salvini decree was created in order to strengthen the policing power of Italy, reduce federal spending on immigration and refugees, crack down on traffickers and mafia members and prevent terrorists and criminals from gaining citizenship. In addition, the new decree will extend the amount of time immigrants can be detained from three to six months. Most notably, the decree places harsh regulations on refugees seeking asylum for humanitarian reasons.

As the form of shelter most commonly granted in Italy, humanitarian protection includes a two-year residency permit and protection for those who don’t qualify as refugees, such as those fleeing their country as a result of poverty. However, the recent rise of right-wing groups, as well as a right-leaning government, in both Italy and in the rest of Europe, has resulted in the rejection of over 50 percent of humanitarian protection applications.

“The consequences of the rejection are under study by many organizations. The preliminary findings, by the European Union, are that this very divisive debate has negative consequences for the migrant and refugee populations, resulting in social and economic ostracism,” said Part-time lecturer for Political Science Elizabeth McNamara. “The public debate in Italy reflects a fear that migrants steal jobs and strict limits play into that fear”

In March, Italy’s elections for senate positions demonstrated a rise in support for conservative candidates. The leading governing parties in Italy, the Lega Nord (Northern League) party and the Five Star Movement, have been gaining popular support as these increasingly anti-immigrant and conservative policies arise.

“This is very much what we call a right-wing movement, similar to Donald Trump here. There is a new government in power, a coalition based on right wing movements. They get support because tough right-wing immigration policies get Populist support” said Professor of Political Science George Guo. “Like the U.S in the past few years, the middle class is shrinking. Those people will lose benefits and will become lower classes. Now who do they blame?”

The rise of anti-immigrant and right-leaning sentiments over Europe is an issue with global consequences. “Historically, periods with significant, increasing nationalism have resulted in war and other lower levels of conflict. It begins within countries. Rejection of certain groups, identification of the out group as dangerous in some way, and then the focus turns outward to cries that they (the nation) are really being oppressed by other states,” said McNamara. “It makes the world a more fraught and uncertain place, and one where the ideals of human rights are more difficult to articulate and uphold.”