Italy’s new immigration law contains a host of controversial new measures.
The main one will make it a crime for someone to enter or stay in Italy without a visa or authorisation, and they will be liable to a fine of up to 10,000 euros. The fine is lifted if the immigrant agrees to leave the country. The length of time illegal immigrants can be kept in government holding centres will go up from two to six months. There is also a new measure aimed at stopping people from helping those living in the country illegally. Renting or offering accomodation to someone without the correct papers will be a crime, carrying a jail term of up to three years. The government will also set up a register of the homeless, to be kept by the interior ministry. A result of the new law will be that civil servants will be obliged to alert the authorities if they receive information about illegal immigrants. Another controversial measure is the setting up of citizen patrols to help provide security in certain suburbs. The volunteers, trained and registered by the authorities, will be told to inform the police and social services about any problems they come across. This new law, denounced by the opposition and human rights groups, is designed to go hand in hand with boosted sea patrols.