A new guide by the Italian Coalition for Freedom and Civil Rights (CILD) aims to help foreigners answer questions that have arisen since the recent passage into law of the Salvini security decree. The guide responds to inquiries such as how a foreign citizen can register in the civil registry and what possible repercussions a lack of registration could have on a migrant in terms of access to public services.
The measures in the Salvini decree that recently became law have brought noticeable changes to the situation of some foreigners living in Italy. In particular, a heated debate has erupted over changes to the way foreigners can register themselves in the civil registry and whether a lack of registration will have consequences in terms of access to public services.
Decree has 'discriminatory' measures
The guide was written by attorney Gennaro Santoro and CILD's Strategic Communications Manager Marika Surace, with contributions from attorneys Salvatore Fachile, Lucia Gennari, and Luca Santini. It aims to respond to questions about the new law and to provide information for legal professionals regarding how the law affects civil registration and gaining access to services.
"Already more than 100 city administrations across Italy have strongly criticised some measures in the law, because they are harmful to fundamental rights and constitutionally dubious because they are discriminatory," CILD said. "The decree, in fact, has affected how foreigners register for the civil registry and could lead to refusal by the public administration (and therefore entities such as public schools or daycares, local health care offices, and employment offices) and private companies (such as banks, for opening a checking account) to provide services," it said.
A guide for clarification
The guide, which is just under 20 pages, quickly responds to questions useful to foreigners, starting with the definition of the right to residence, the requirements for civil registration, and its consequences. It explains that "a foreigner with a legal stay permit has the same right to civil registration as an Italian citizen" if the foreigner can prove the legality of his or her stay by showing a valid document.
The critical issue with the Salvini decree is that it changes the regulations so that "the asylum-seeker stay permit, despite being a valid identification document, cannot be used as a valid document to request enrolment in the civil registry".
According to the CILD attorneys, the change is discriminatory because it could violate the principle of equality according to Article 3 of the Italian Constitution. The guide says "the law expressly guarantees asylum seekers access to all services provided in the area based on domicile, not civil registration". However, "it's foreseeable that a lack of enrolment in the civil registry will result in refusal by the public administration and private companies to provide services". PHOTO: the cover of the guide. Credit: CILD