The mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, has signed the first measures to register as full residents four foreigners who currently have a permit for humanitarian reasons or as asylum seekers. He hereby defies a ban in the controversial migrant and security decree drafted by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
Palermo's center-left Mayor Leoluca Orlando has signed the first measures to register for residency four foreigners who currently have a permit for humanitarian reasons or as asylum seekers, defying a ban in the controversial migrant and security decree drafted by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
The residency permits will be issued after routine local police checks and Orlando said he will take full responsibility for the decision. The four measures were previously rejected by the registry office under the new decree but the mayor decided to act directly as a "government and registry office official." Orlando last month suspended the application of a norm in the recent decree banning officials from issuing residency permits to migrants who already have a stay permit.
'A duty', says Orlando
"Signing these acts is practically a duty for a mayor who has sworn allegiance to the Constitution and the municipal statute", said Orlando. The mayor said the Constitution and statute both "tell us that the preservation of collective rights goes hand in hand with the safeguard of individual rights because the real safety of an entire local community is only guaranteed and built in this way." Orlando said his measure has "solid juridical and administrative grounds, although I know some will refer to it as a political measure to take away the attention from a deeper issue: the preservation of the rights of each and everyone" is a "guarantee of freedom."
'Risk of violation of human rights'
Orlando spoke about the "risk of the violation of human rights and thus the violation of international humanitarian law." The mayor also noted that it is a mayor's duty to respect the Constitution and govern in a "constitutionally correct" and "adequate" manner. There are currently 200 residency requests that need to be processed. Orlando is one of several mayors who have rebelled against the decree, saying that it unfairly strips asylum seekers of rights.
Several officials have said they will appeal to the Constitutional Court against the controversial measure, which critics say robs migrants of access to healthcare, social housing and other benefits. Anti-migrant Euroskeptic League leader and Interior Minister Salvini says the measure is only aimed at asylum seekers who break the law.