Gambian migrants fear stiffer anti-settlement measures in Italy

Gambian migrants in Italy remain skeptical about Italy’s new Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte and his government’s plans as he vows to crack down on irregular migration during his recent address to the senate.

They fear that Prime Minister Conte could introduce stiffer anti-settlement measures after he received a confidence vote by the Italian Parliament.

Among them are Paul, Khalilou, Kebba and Ba foday, who reside in Sicily, Turin and Naples. The young men are documented migrants, however they are predicting stiffer new policies to be introduced by Conte’s government, which could affect their status. “Look we are worried you know, this new government has been campaigning against our integration for long. Now that they are in charge, they will make matters worse for migrants,” one of them said.

Sulayman is an undocumented Gambian migrant in Florence who arrived in Italy in 2017 via Libya. He also felt disappointment with the new government’s stance on irregular migration.

“The future is really bleak for some of us whose statuses are yet to be regularised fully you know, we manage to work illegally so that we can send some money back home, but now we may be targeted by the new government and when caught working illegally, we may be deported, I wish the Prime Minister understood our situation.”

Another Gambian migrant, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, believes the advent of Conte’s government is very unfortunate for migrants. He added that the language used in the run up to elections was extremely negative towards the migrant community in Italy. As a result, he does not rule out the deportation of hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants at any time, based on the League’s messages throughout the campaign.

Prime Minister Conte, leader of the League, which led the opposition against the integration of irregular migrants into Italy before assuming office, recently told the Italian Parliament that the government would end the immigration business.

He was quoted by Reuters as saying, “We are not and will never be racists. We want procedures that determine refugee status to be certain and speedy, in order to effectively guarantee their (refugee) rights,” he said.

But his new hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, has pledged in Sicily, that Italy will no longer be ‘Europe’s refugee camp’.


TMP – 01/07/2018