League leader Matteo Salvini has presented a new department of integration and relations with foreign communities in Italy. He said his party wants to become "a political and cultural reference point for all foreign communities in Italy."
On July 20, the leader of the far-right League party in Italy, Matteo Salvini, presented the new Department of integration and relations with foreign communities. He was speaking at a press conference at the Lower House.
Salvini unveiled the initiative together with Nigerian-origin Senator Tony Iwobi, vice president of the Commission for the safeguard and promotion of human rights, and Moroccan-born MP Suad Sbai.
"Attention, respect, rules and freedom of religion, education, the media, ideas and treatment, for all foreign communities in Italy, which means for over five million people," Salvini told the press conference.
'We are trying to build a future of real integration'
"We are trying to build a future of real integration, respect and knowledge because diversities are an asset. Starting today, we are accelerating -- Suad and Tony will listen, meet and involve foreign communities in Italy", the League leader also said.
"We want to be the first political movement that is a real interlocutor of all realities that do not want to be used by the left with ideological battles or Ius soli (law of the soil)," he noted, referring to the right of migrant children born in Italy to get automatic Italian citizenship.
Iwobi explained that "managing these relations means considering millions of people overlooked over the past few years by politics, which was distracted by themes like landings" of migrants.
However, the Senator went on to say, this issue can't be discussed while "neglecting all high-quality immigration that exists and which our country truly needs."
Over 5.3 million foreigners regularly residing in Italy
Iwobi cited data published by national statistics agency ISTAT.
"According to ISTAT's data, as of January 1, 2020, there were over 5.3 million foreigners regularly residing in Italy, in addition to over one million people who have become Italian citizens."
A study published by financial daily Sole 24 ore said "these immigrants who are legal residents contribute to 9% of national GDP, or about 140 billion euros," he added.
Sbai said that "integration in Italy is possible. It is not a racist country. And we are proof of this". "The point of departure for a peaceful and civil cohabitation, however, is the respect of the Italian Constitution and of rules, which doesn't mean rejecting one's origin or faith," the lawmaker added.
She cited as emergencies the school drop-out rate, uncontrolled migrant landings and the situation of women.