Immigrants at a hosting center |PHOTO: Archive/ANSA/Maurizio Degl’Innocenti
Immigrants at a hosting center |PHOTO: Archive/ANSA/Maurizio Degl’Innocenti

Catholic charity Caritas in Milan has reported that it helped 77 migrants affected by a new security and immigration decree to become independent in a year, helping them avoid the negative effects of the legislation.

In a statement released on February 14, the Catholic charity Caritas in Milan said they had helped 77 migrants "become independent". Following the approval of a security and immigration decree drafted by ex-interior minister and right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini,  the migrants were supposed to leave hosting centers and were not eligible for state aid.

77 people benefited from the support 

In the diocese of Milan, 77 people (including 29 minors) benefited from the program, Caritas said. All of the 77 had a residence permit for humanitarian reasons and were housed in facilities managed by Caritas' social cooperatives on behalf of the prefecture. 

The migrants had lost their right to housing after the decree drafted by Salvini came into effect last year. The migrants, thanks to Caritas, were instead able to continue to pursue the integration process they had previously started, the organization said. 

'We provided an opportunity' 

Luciano Gualzetti, the director of Caritas in Milan, said that if the organization had followed "the provisions of the security decree, these people would be much weaker today, more exposed to being blackmailed by different kinds of exploiters and we would have probably seen them in line at help centers and parish churches. With a small gesture, we gave them an opportunity," he said of the program. 

Gualzetti also called for a national debate on new guidelines approved by the interior ministry, now led by Luciana Lamorgese, under which rules on the daily payments provided to organizations in charge of hosting migrants are redefined.

"It is not possible to reduce the issue to a mere matter of money," said Gualzetti, stressing the importance of the "services that must be offered" to promote the integration of immigrants "because the efficiency of intervention relies on that."

Premier Conte, who now leads a government alliance between the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), the center-left Democratic Party (PD), the centrist Italia Viva (IV) party and the leftwing Free and Equal (LeU) party, after the League pulled the plug on his previous cabinet last August, has announced an upcoming revision of the security and migrant decrees introduced by Salvini. 

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