Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, interviewed during the Caffeina Festival in Santa Severa by Marco Tarquinio, editor-in-chief of Avvenire, the Italian daily newspaper affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church | Photo: ANSA/PRESS OFFICE
Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, interviewed during the Caffeina Festival in Santa Severa by Marco Tarquinio, editor-in-chief of Avvenire, the Italian daily newspaper affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church | Photo: ANSA/PRESS OFFICE

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has announced that a new draft decree on immigration has been finalized. The proposed legislation changes the hosting system to include asylum seekers as well as those granted international protection, the minister said.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has announced that work to draft a new decree on immigration has been completed. Work on the decree "is closed," Lamorgese explained on August 10. 

She stressed that the proposed legislation ''changes the hosting system also for asylum seekers so they can become part of a circuit of hosting that is identical to the one which is today reserved to those who have been granted humanitarian protection." 

Lamorgese hinted the decree would "bring back a bit" the system as it was before immigration policies designed by her predecessor, League leader Matteo Salvini.

Lamorgese said that she hopes to send the text to the Palazzo Chigi for the approval of the council of ministers before August 15, to be discussed then later in September. She was speaking Monday night in an interview by the editor-in-chief of Catholic daily Avvenire, Marco Tarquinio, at the Caffeina Festival in the Lazio coastal town of Santa Severa. 

Situation prior to security decrees to be restored 

In the new immigration decree, Lamorgese explained, "we have included all the observations formulated by the Presidency of the Republic. And we have gone beyond that: we have changed the hosting system for those who are asylum seekers so they can become part of a hosting circuit that is identical to the one today reserved to those who have humanitarian protection, returning a bit to how it was before."

When president Sergio Mattarella signed the previous government's security law in August 2019, he raised two issues about the package in a letter to the speakers of the Lower House and Senate. Mattarella observed that the obligation for sailors to rescue people at sea remained and that high fines against rescue ships were comparable to a criminal penalty.

Lamorgese in the announcement hinted that the decree would restore the system of SPRAR centers that provide accommodation and assistance to migrants. 

The minister also discussed the growing number of landings and the problem of hosting migrants during the coronavirus emergency. "Some 14,000 migrants have arrived since the beginning of the year. The number that raised the bar was reported in July, when a very strong political and economic crisis was registered in Tunisia and people who would never have thought of abandoning their country travelled to our coasts." 

For the moment, a quarantine-ship off Lampedusa is hosting 600 people, the minister said. The deadline for a call for tenders for a second quarantine ship for 300 people expired on August 10. 

''Fortunately, no migrants have been arriving over the past week and we can manage the situation with more clarity. It was very complicated to manage in a month, when they all arrived together, the arrival of 6,000 migrants, but I think that so far it has gone well," Lamorgese said. 

Accord with Malta positive 

The interior minister also spoke about an agreement on sharing the migratory burden reached in Malta last year. "It was very positive," she said, explaining that "we have reached an agreement with other countries so that the migrants who arrive are redistributed and each state determines who has the right to humanitarian protection or eventually carries out repatriations."

Before, all procedures were in the responsibility of Italy, and Italy was in charge of all repatriations. "At the moment, there are few countries with which we can proceed with repatriations, for this reason I have asked for a European accord for repatriations to give more strength to European countries." 

Speaking about immigration and the coronavirus emergency, Lamorgese said: ''we have tried to organize everything to avoid transmission and to try to isolate those who are positive." 

She went on to say that "Covid makes things more complicated also for migrants and the fact that we keep them in quarantine." 

Speaking about a spike in coronavirus cases at a migrant hosting center in the Veneto city of Treviso, the minister said she "summoned the prefect of Treviso because, according to the first report that was drafted at my request, it was hard to separate those who tested positive." 

The center's managers "thought they could manage" the situation, "they started to divide them but it was clearly too late." 

Prosecutors in Treviso announced on August 9 that they are investigating the migrant center in the former military barracks "Serena Casier" after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbed from two to 257 in less than two months.
 

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