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March 1996, Volume 3, Number 3

Italy: Immigration Decree Not Enough

The Interior minister who issued Italy's immigration decree that called for the immediate expulsion of illegal immigrants in early February called the decree inadequate.

Under the November 19, 1995 decree, illegal immigrants accused of a crime can be deported immediately, while other illegal immigrants are served with expulsion orders that give them 10 days to leave. Immigrants allegedly use these 10 days to disappear, or to begin endless appeals.

Since the new decree was issued, about 2,000 expulsion orders were issued, but, according to the ex-minister, probably no aliens were expelled. In 1995, about 56,000 expulsion orders were issued, and 7,400 aliens were expelled.

The Italian government can re-issue the decree, or the Parliament can enact it into law. The failure of the Parliament to act is the explanation offered for why only 74,400 illegal aliens regularized their status since November 19, 1995, when aliens who made social security payments and got letters from their employers could become legal immigrants.

On February 3, between 10,000 to 30,000 immigrants demonstrated in Rome against racism and called for the withdrawal of the November decree.


Robert Fox, "Farce has hints of tragedy as Italy faces election in fear for the future," Daily Telegraph, February 19, 1996. Robert Graham, "Italy's immigration law inadequate," Financial Times, February 8, 1996. "Thousands of immigrants in anti-racist protest," Agence France Presse, February 3, 1996.