Italy delays law making children of migrants citizens

Italy delays law making children of migrants citizens

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has said conditions are not right to push through a bill giving citizenship to the children of immigrants.

The law would make some 800,000 people citizens and has already taken years to reach the upper house, or Senate.

Right-wing parties hailed the prime minister's delay but migrant groups said they were bitterly disappointed.

Meanwhile Luxembourg has warned that EU funds may be helping to drive migrants into Libyan "concentration camps".

Responding to an Italian plea for help, the EU has been helping to train Libyan coastguards.


Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said "we have financed these coastguards and it's right", but migrants were being rescued in Libyan territorial waters and "can only be taken back to Libya, but back to these camps we've seen pictures of.

"Those are sometimes concentration camps, camps where people are raped, where there is no law."

More than 88,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy so far this year, and more than a quarter of them arrived in June alone.

The numbers are higher than in the first half of last year.

Italy has EU backing for a code of conduct that would regulate non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in rescuing migrants off the Libyan coast. Critics accuse NGOs of encouraging departures of migrants from Libya.

Italy delays law making children of migrants citizens

Many of the new arrivals have come through Sicily, and when a local prefect on the island sent 50 migrants to a hotel in the village of Sinagra at the weekend, dozens of local mayors began a protest outside.

They argued that the facilities were insufficient and the number was far higher than the government's agreement with local authorities to aim for 2.5 migrants per 1,000 of population. "We aren't racist, or against migrants but the distribution has to to be fair," said local mayor Vincenzo Lionetto Civa.


The controversial "ius soli" (right of soil) has taken years to reach Italy's upper house of parliament and when it arrived in the Senate it became the focus of thousands of amendments aimed at halting its path.

It is currently difficult for immigrants to obtain Italian citizenship without an Italian parent.

However, the number of people becoming Italian citizens has nonetheless been on the increase - 201,501 people acquired Italian citizenship in 2016 alone.

Northern League leader Matteo Salvini said more than 7,000 migrants had arrived on Italy's southern shores this weekend alone, adding that the Sicilian mayors' protest was proof that people had had enough.



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