Welcoming migrants, this is how it works in Italy: beyond the acronyms and statistics, the stories of thousands of people are hidden

Welcoming migrants, this is how it works in Italy: beyond the acronyms and statistics, the stories of thousands of people are hidden

ROME - Of the slightly more than 5 million foreign citizens residing in Italy, about half are European (of which 1.4 million come from countries belonging to the EU), 1,150,627 come from African countries (22.2%, above all from from North and West Africa) and 1.1 million (22.6%) from Asia. Over the years, the legislation governing the reception of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Italy has changed several times. In December 2020 - reads a report from the Openpolis Foundation, which processes data concerning power, politics, the economy, territories and local communities to facilitate access to public information - decree law 130 approved two months earlier by the second Conte government was converted into law, which contains "Urgent provisions on immigration, international and complementary protection". It is a provision that partially reforms the so-called security decree, approved about two years earlier by the first Conte government. The law approved at the end of 2020 is also called "Lamorgese reform”, named after the then interior minister Luciana Lamorgese. It is the legislation currently in force on reception in Italy, even if the Meloni government announced changes to the system in the first months of 2023.

Rescue, first assistance and identification. Foreign citizens rescued at sea or entering the national territory irregularly are taken to government centers located near the landing areas or the main entrance to the country for initial medical assistance, photo-reporting and pre-identification. This type of center is affected by the hotspot approach, born in 2015 due to the commitments undertaken by the Italian government with the European Commission. In the centers there is also the first exchange of information on asylum procedures: it is here that asylum seekers differ from the so-called economic migrants, who will be sent to the detention centers for repatriation (Cpr) or left on the territory in irregular stay (Legislative Decree 286/1998, art. 10-ter)

Government first reception centres. Those who express the will to apply for asylum in Italy are transferred to the first reception centers (Cpa), first-level reception facilities, where the necessary time is spent to carry out the identification operations (if not carried out previously) and to start the procedure for examining the asylum request. In these centers the health conditions of the guests must also be ascertained, with the aim of verifying any situations of vulnerability at the time of entry into the second reception phase. People who have not expressed their willingness to seek asylum are instead transferred to Cprpending the executive order of expulsion from the country (legislative decree 142/2015, article 9).

The second reception. This step consists, at least theoretically, in the reception and integration system (You know). The programme, introduced with the 2020 reform, replaces the protection system for holders of international protection and for unaccompanied foreign minors (Siproimi), established with the Security Decree in 2018, which in turn replaced the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (Sprar), in force from 2002 to 2018. The You know it would seem to get closer to the principles that had inspired him Sprar. It consists of a type of reception that is less purely welfare and more aimed at integration. The You know it is spread over two levels of services: the first is reserved for asylum seekers, and is based on material, legal, health and linguistic assistance.

Second level services. These are reserved for protection holders and also have job integration and orientation functions. Unlike the first reception, managed exclusively by the Ministry of the Interior, Sai is coordinated by the Central Service, whose management is assigned to the National Association of Italian Municipalities (Anci) with the operational support of the Cittalia Foundation. The ownership of the projects is assigned to the local authorities who voluntarily activate and implement reception and integration projects.

All the data on the system, structure by structure on the Centers of Italy. Support for integration paths. Legislative decree 130/2020 introduces further integration paths for the first time after the second reception. At the end of the period in You knowin fact, local administrations can launch other initiatives with the aim of promoting the individual autonomy of citizens already beneficiaries of Sai, with particular regard to greater linguistic training, job orientation and essential public services, and knowledge of rights and the fundamental duties enshrined in the constitution.

The extraordinary reception system. If the places available in the first and second reception systems run out, the prefectures can provide for the establishment of extraordinary reception centers (Cas) and entrust them to private entities through the procedures for awarding public contracts. Asylum seekers are welcomed within these centres, limited to the time necessary for transfer to the facilities of the You know.

The data. With the growth of presences in the reception system, the share of people welcomed in the reception system has been increasing Casto the detriment of the centers belonging to the ordinary public ownership system, called over the years Sprar, Siproimi and today You know. In the period considered, in fact, the ordinary system has always been in the minority, to the advantage of the Cas, which over the years has become by far the majority. The year in which the percentage of attendance in the ordinary system was highest was 2021 (31.6% of total attendance). Conversely, the years in which the weight of the ordinary system was lower were 2016 and 2017 (13.5%).

The Analysis. The 2020 reform designed a reception system with characteristics much more similar to those it had until 2018, before the approval of the security decrees desired by the then interior minister Matteo Salvini. The return of the possibility of accessing second reception also for asylum seekers (and not only for those already entitled to protection) represents one of the provisions that give the measure of the change of political direction, compared to the past. However, the division of the You know in two levels it precludes asylum seekers from some services aimed at integration.

Underutilized the second reception. Although oriented towards greater integration and inclusion of people in the social fabric, secondary reception also continues to be largely underused, and therefore undersized compared to needs. In fact, although the percentage weight of the Sai compared to the total of the shrewd has increased over the years, in absolute terms the number of people in the ordinary system from 2018 to 2021 has even decreased. Demonstrating the fact that the Sai attendance rate depends on the fluctuation of emergency reception, and not on public policies aimed at investing in the ordinary system.

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