The mayor of the northern Italian town of Ferrara, right-wing League party member Alan Fabbri, has sparked outcry after comparing undocumented migrants to a "tumor to eradicate". The comment came in relation to the police headquarters' rejection of 134 stay permits since the beginning of the year and 12 revocations of stay permits for foreigners.
A Facebook post by Alan Fabbri, mayor of Ferrara, claimed that ''undocumented migrants, violent individuals, drug dealers, and serial bivouac-ers, who do nothing except make our city less safe, cannot expect any rights. They must go back where they came from. For us they are neither a resource not people to integrate at our expense. They are simply a tumor to eradicate.''
Indignation, but also some support
The comments led to indignation as well as many comments of support. Fabbri said, on the subject of the rejections and revocations of stay permits, that ''almost all were due to their posing a risk to society and the undocumented nature of those who had requested international protection."
"If you ask for international protection, you must deserve it, working honestly and making yourself useful to the community hosting you,'' he added.
Democratic Party (PD) MP Luca Rizzo Nervo said that "in addition to populism, his problem is hate. But for however much it may seem unable to be defeated in these times, even hatred collapses when faced with the truth, knowledge, and democracy.''
He added that the Ferrara mayor ''confuses the request for international protection with the request for a stay permits'' and ''he claims that if you want international protection you must know how to make yourself useful in the society granting you it: working to pay it back, as a sort of exchange. If you are useful to me, I will protect you, but if you are not useful you must go home.''
The mayor then drew attention to the news of the arrest of a Nigerian asylum seeker for raping a 16-year-old girl after threatening her with a knife and lashed out, saying ''and the PD defends these people and calls my words 'shocking'?. They are the ones that continue to surprise me. Ferrara residents know well what I mean when I say 'tumor': 'violent undocumented migrants and criminal serial bivouac-era' are a tumor for our areas and our city.''
It was the PD, Fabbri said, ''that allowed all this'' when it was in the government in previous years.
Last year the League took Ferrara, which had ever since WWII been under center-left administrations.
This year has been filled with polemics over decisions made by the League town council, such as setting the criteria of a stay permit for food coupons for those experiencing difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was later reversed.