The vote in the Senate did not come without its controversies | Photo: ANSA/Fabio Frustaci
The vote in the Senate did not come without its controversies | Photo: ANSA/Fabio Frustaci

A new security decree modifying previous decrees passed under former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was approved Friday by the Italian Senate.

After two days of high tension in its chambers, the Italian Senate on Friday passed a new security decree. The confidence vote brought in by the government saw and overwhelming 153 votes in favor of the law and two against, with four abstentions.

The decree was in line with observations made by Italian president Sergio Mattarella when the Salvini decrees on immigration were passed.

Violent breaches of protocol

But the introduction of the law was not without controversy: Many suspensions took place in the Senate chamber on Friday and a scuffle broke out between League party MPs holding up banners against the Five Star Movement (M5S). Senator Antonio De Poli, who was pushed as he sought to mediate, reportedly even went home with a dislocated shoulder.

The Democratic Party (PD) has called for disciplinary actions to be taken against the League Party members who allegedly had initiated the actions. Senate speaker Elisabetta Casellati said that an investigation would be conducted using photo and video material to determine who in the end would be held responsible for the breach in protocol.

New measures introduced by the decree

  • Migrants in Italy with permits for humanitarian reasons will be allowed to have their permits converted to allow them to seek employment.
  • Under the new law, the interior ministry will hold on to its power to bar ships carrying migrants from entering Italian territorial waters. This was already included in the second Salvini decree, but under its new terms it means that the interior ministry would not interfere if the ship immediately informed authorities of the rescue operations.
  • Vessels that do not comply with the ban by the Interior Ministry will now be fined between 10,000 and 50,000 euros instead of the previous range of fines between 150,000 and 1 million euros, as stipulated under the second Salvini decree. Fines will be decided upon by judges if they deem that a felony has in fact been committed.
  • LGBTQ+ right: foreigners who risk political persecution, torture, or risks due to their race, sex, religion, ''sexual orientation or gender identity'' cannot be pushed back. They will be able to request a permit on humanitarian grounds.
  • Priority will be given for detention in repatriation centers to foreigners that pose a ''risk to security'' i.e. those who have been sentenced for serious crimes and those who come from countries where Italy has agreements for judicial repatriation.
  • ''Prevention and monitoring'' measures will be implemented in migration centers to curb propaganda used by jihadist terror organisations.
  • The Italian prime minister will henceforth be able to issue at any time a decree with a ceiling on the number of regular immigrants that can enter the country for work if it has not published during the year by parliament. These decrees do not need to follow number set by the ceiling of the previous year.
  • Any Italian citizenship requests that arise as the result of marriage to an Italian national or after regularly residence in the country for 10 consecutive years must be answered within 24 months - with a possible extension to 36 if needed.
  • Anyone taking part in an altercation can henceforth be fined up to 2,000 euros. If anyone should die or is injured in such a fight, the perpetrator will be sentenced from between 6 months in jail to 6 years. Previously, the imprisonment fines ranged from 3 months to 5 years. These measures can extend to partaking in the illegal drug trade.
  • There will be an ombudsman introduced for detainees to make sure they don't suffer torture.

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