Rome police immigration office 'in critical situation'
The organizations that are a part of the Rome Legal Network for Migrants in Transit have warned of a "critical situation" at the immigration office of the Rome police headquarter. They believe the possibilities for foreigners to gain access to asylum requests and permits of stay renewal procedures are too limited.
"The difficulties they meet," they said, "in gaining access to the offices are hindered by the reduced number of claims accepted on a daily basis by the immigration office, limited to about 20."
They believe that this"forces asylum seekers, whether men or women with children, to spend the night in line in front of the police headquarters in any weather." The organizations also published video footage they say shows migrants waiting in line at the immigration office.
In line the entire night, often in vain
The Rome Legal Network for Migrants in Transit seeks to support migrants, to offer orientation and legal assistance. They run an unofficial post for migrants at Rome's Tiburtina station, managed by volunteers from the Baobab Experience association, which has in the past few months received over 600 people.
The legal network, with the support of the Baobab Experience volunteers, monitored the immigration office of the Rome police headquarters in Via Patini for two days.
The video made by the organizations shows dozens of migrants forced to spend the night in front of the immigration office for the chance to have their asylum request examined, keeping themselves warm with a fire on the street.
Bad practices lead to irregularities
"An increase in the bad practices implemented by the Rome police headquarters have in many cases led to migrants' deciding not to exercise their right to request international protection or the renewal of their documents, thus remaining in the limbo of irregularity," the associations said in a statement. "If the problems remain as they are, the network's concerns will remain strong as well." In light of what emerged during the days of observation and monitoring, "the legal network once again recommends that the authorities intervene so that the procedures respect the rights guaranteed by national and international law as well as human dignity."