Italian members of parliament have voted in favour of a new crime bill, supporting Silvio Berlusconi’s anti-immigration efforts and also his attempts to avoid trial for corruption.
The bill got a free ride through the lower house by being bundled with a confidence vote in the Conservative government, which holds a strong parliamentary majority.
If approved by senators next week it will be far easier for Italy to deport illegal immigrants. It has already started a census of Roma people, with some fingerprinting, even of children.
The European Union is watching closely and demanding a ‘nuts and bolts’ explanation.
Berlusconi insists the census isn’t discriminatory.
“Where the children are concerned, the government, and the country want to be able to guarantee them an education exactly like all other Italian children,” he said.
The same bill which tackles the immigrant problem
also allows judges to suspend trials for certain less serious crimes. Berlusconi himself is facing corruption charges.
Italy’s opposition made 1200 amendments to the bill.