A female immigrant in the cold in Crotone | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA
A female immigrant in the cold in Crotone | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA

Foreigners with "humanitarian protection" - including trafficking victims and children - are being expelled from hosting centers in Italy, following the approval of a controversial new decree.

Twenty-four migrants with a humanitarian permit who were staying at a governmental asylum seeker accomodation center (Cara) in the southeastern municipality Isola Capo Rizzuto had to leave last Friday. This was because the prefecture of Crotone issued an order for their explusion after the parliament approved a controversial new decree on security and immigration championed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. 

Far-right Salvini has made reducing the number of migrants and refugees in Italy one of his key goals as interior minister. The decree that he advocated for includes a variety of measures aimed at reducing the number of foreigners allowed to reside in Italy. Italy now no longer allows for people to be granted "humanitarian protection." This form of protection was typically issued to people who weren't eligible for refugee status, but weren't safe in their home country - like homosexuals escaping countries with anti-gay laws. Roughly 25 percent of those who sought asylum in 2017 received humanitarian protection - that's more than 20,000 people. 

Young couple with newborn among those expelled 

Among those who had the leave the center in Isola Capo Rizzuto were a young couple, a Nigerian woman and a Ghanaian man with a five-month old daughter, who will be hosted, together with another woman, in Crotone, where the Red Cross and Caritas will provide room and board for about 20 days. 

Under the new decree, the 24 migrants who had to leave the center have the right to stay in Italy but cannot be assisted by the SPRAR (Protection system for refugees and asylum seekers) program. They also cannot remain in centers where migrants are initially assisted upon their arrival. The migrants, who staged a peaceful demonstration, were taken to the railway station of the city of Crotone where the associations' volunteers were waiting for them to provide temporary shelters. The migrants did not have a place to stay and nowhere to go. Four of them were housed for the night by social cooperative Agorà while the others slept in a makeshift tent camp north of Crotone, where about 100 migrants are living in precarious conditions.

The 24 migrants who were forced to leave the Cara center include three women who are trafficking victims. Volunteers are trying to find accommodation for them, possibly provided by associations assisting abuse victims. 

200 to be forced to leave the center

Over the course of this week, other migrants are expected to be expelled from the same center. A total of 200 people are expected to be asked to leave by the end of next week. According to Pino De Lucia, who is in charge of immigration for Legacoop Calabria, the situation is especially hard because the "costs for potential difficult cases concerning migrant minors, ill or disabled" will got to the hosting municipalities "with a significant increase in spending for local institutions." 

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