Immigration center in Gradisca d'Isonzo | Photo: ANSA
Immigration center in Gradisca d'Isonzo | Photo: ANSA

A new CPR center, where migrants are detained while they await deportation, has opened in Gradisca d'Isonzo, in northeastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia. The facility can host up to 150 people.

A new permanent repatriation center (CPR) opened on Monday, December 16, in Gradisca d'Isonzo near Gorizia. The center, located in the former barracks 'Polonio' next to an asylum seeker reception center (CARA), will host undocumented migrants awaiting expulsion for a maximum of six months.

Technically a prison

Technically the center is an "administrative prison," the prefect of Gorizia, Massimo Marchesiello, told ANSA. It is a "closed structure that can host up to 150 migrants," he explained. Due to heating issues, the facility will be hosting a maximum of 60 migrants until the end of January, the official said.

"An innovative video-surveillance system... [with] nearly 200 cameras" will guard the facility where personnel will include 50 members of the military who, together with security officials, will be in charge of the structure. 

The prefect of Gorizia said there will be no problems of cohabitation with the CARA center, which hosts some 120 people, because the two centers "are two separate entities." 

League governor praises CPR

The CPR guarantees more security for citizens, regional governor Massimiliano Fedriga, a member of the far-right League party, said. Speaking to local broadcaster Telefriuli about the opening of the new CPR, he said: "I would rather have a CPR next to my home, which is a closed, controlled structure, which people can't leave giving security to the area, rather than an asylum seeker reception center (CARA) where people can go where they want."

He argued that the CARA center next door to the new CPR should be shut down. "If Gradisca has the burden of the CPR, it can't also have the CARA'', he said. 

He said that when the League party, which is led by former interior minister Matteo Salvini, was in government,  "we drastically reduced the number of CARA centers." 

When the League and 5-Star Movement (M5S) were in government for a year and a half, Fedriga said, the number of undocumented migrants in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia "decreased by 40.6%."  He claimed that this was "not sufficient", adding that "a lot still needs to be done. We must control borders."  

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