Mobilisation against the "racist" security package

A number of informative and protest initiatives are being organised by the "Rete contro il pacchetto sicurezza" (Network against the security package) to oppose a raft of measures that it describes as "segregationist and racist", or as "restricting everyone's freedom through the criminalisation of dissent and of lifestyles". Measures introducing new limits, controls and criminal offences imposed on migrants, heavy punishment envisaged against graffiti artists, the re-introduction of crimes such as causing offence to public officials, are described as products of a sort of "securitarian madness" and have either been recently converted into law, or are undergoing scrutiny by the Senate and Chamber of Deputies with a view to being agreed upon as legislation.

The initiatives, appeals and campaign materials, as well as an interesting list of the measures affecting migrants, people involved in political activity, or the poor and homeless is included [translated below]on the network's blog at:

Summary translation of extract from the blog

"Measures affecting migrants:

1. The norm envisaging increased sentencing for anyone committing a crime if they do not possess a residence permit by a third has already been turned into law. Hence, the same crime is deemed more serious if the person who commits it does not have a residence permit, as if to say that such a person is intrinsically more dangerous than someone else.

2. The norm envisaging a serious penalty (of between six months and three years) for someone renting accommodation to foreigners who do not have a residence permit has already been turned into law. It is glaringly obvious that the norm seeks to isolate migrants without a residence permit and forces them to turn to wheeler-dealers who will take the risk of subletting a room to them.

3. The norm increasing penalties (from six months to three years) for people employing migrants without residence permits, even in the absence of exploitation, has already been turned into law. Continuing down the route of isolation and aiding criminal middlemen.

4. The norm establishing that criminal courts should give priority to the processing of a series of crimes including - second in importance - those concerning immigration, has already been turned into law.

5. The norm that turns the mere fact of not possessing a residence permit into a crime (punished with a fine) may be turned into law. The very dangerous principle whereby the simple lack of the residence permit constitutes an offence that due to its nature is serious enough to be deemed relevant for criminal law is being introduced. The floodgate is being opened for the worst forms of criminalisation of people as a result of the situation that they live in rather than for what they do. Already approved by the Senate, it must be voted on by the Chamber of Deputies [the lower house of parliament].

6. The norm that brings the time during which migrants who do not have a residence permit may be detained in the Temporary Detention Centres (now re-named Centres for Identification and Expulsion) from 60 days to 18 months may be turned into law. Hence, foreign persons may be deprived of their freedom for a year a half because they do not have a residence permit, that is, an administrative authorisation. Something unthinkable for any Italian.

7. The norm that envisages the possibility of someone being repeatedly sentenced and imprisoned (on each occasion, for up to four years) for not having complied with an order issued by the prefetto (in charge of security in a given city or region) to leave Italy because they do not have a residence permit, may be turned into law. At present, it is only possible to be convicted once. An Italian person who does not comply with an order from the executive authorities can only be fined.

8. The norm that punishes migrants who do not comply with an order to show a public officer both their passport and residence permit with up to a year's detention may be turned into law. It is yet another violent norm of "special" legislation, decreed for migrants but which may be a prelude of future obligations for the entire population.

9. The norm that punishes anyone who facilitates illegal entry into the Italian territory more heavily, even without undue profit, may be turned into law. It is a norm requested by the opposition which, in a cowardly manner, rides on the bandwagon of so-called trafficking in human beings to criminalise anyone who, even without violence or profit, opposes the shameful policy of closing the borders.

10. The norm that imposes that the residence permit be shown to have access to one's civil status record, for example, to be able to [formally] recognise one's son or daughter, even if they are born in Italy, may be turned into law. It is an extremely violent norm that deprives a category of people of basic faculties, as if to deny them their human nature.

11. The norm that prohibits the marriage of a foreign person without a residence permit may be turned into law. The person is deprived of the right to get married, but also of the hope to obtain a residence permit following marriage with an Italian or EU country national.

12. The norm envisaging an obligation for those managing money transfer shops to ask for and keep a copy of the residence permit of migrants using the service, as well as a requirement to inform the police if they do not have one, may be turned into law. This norm fosters social control, informing on people, and the isolation of migrants who do not have a residence permit and who will, again, be forced to turn to illegal services to transfer their money.

13. The norm envisaging the loss of one's residence permit in case of a guilty verdict, even if it is not definitive, may be turned into law. The legal position of migrants is made increasingly unstable.

14. The norm that introduces a requirement for any migrant requesting a residence permit to sign a so-called integration contract, that is, to respect (or otherwise be expelled) a series of rules on good behaviour that will be set unilaterally by the government, may be turned into law. It is a kind of climax of what is termed the subordinate integration of migrants, who are only allowed to accept the conditions imposed upon them and to live under a continuous threat of being expelled.

15. The norm that allows unaccompanied foreign minors to obtain a residence permit when they come of age only if they are able to prove that they have been in Italy for at least three years and have been under the tutelage of social services for at least two years, may be turned into law. Thus, teenagers who do not fulfil these criteria already know that when they turn 18 years old, illegality awaits them.

16. The norm that makes it more difficult to acquire citizenship through marriage with an Italian, and the one that requires a migrant requesting a [long-term] residence card to pass an Italian language exam, may be turned into law.

17. The norm that envisages a price of 200 Euros to apply for citizenship, and of between 10 and 400 Euros to request a residence permit, may be turned into law.

Measures that directly affect people who experience the dynamics of life in the street:

1. The norm allowing someone to take up or change residence only if they have accommodation fit for residing in may be turned into law. Not only does this worsen the situation of migrants, but it prevents everyone (like the homeless) who have serious economic difficulties or live in irregular accommodation from having a [formal] residence. These people will no longer be residents, as if they no longer belong to the social and political community in which they live, because of their economic conditions.

2. The norm setting up a register of people without a stable home may be turned into law. Its fascist character is self-evident.

3. The norm that makes penalties harsher for people who allow under-14s to beg may be turned into law. Again, this one also reeks of the ventennio [expression used to refer to the two decades of fascist rule in Italy].

4. The norm envisaging an immediate forced removal of any minor who is an EU national practising prostitution may be turned into law. This norm is part of a wider project (the so-called Carfagna draft law) to criminalise and blackmail anyone undertaking this kind of activity, which will be subsequently discussed by Parliament.

5. The norm that hardens penalties for people who (regardless of whether they have recently come of age) commit a crime with a minor may be turned into law.

6. The norm introducing heavier penalties for people committing a crime on public transport vehicles and against people who are about to, or have just taken money out of a cash machine, may be turned into law.

7. The norm that expands the cases involving arrest for petty criminal offences may be turned into law.

Measures directly affecting people involved in political or social protest activity:

1. The norm that envisages some far higher penalties (of up to three years) for people who provide false personal details for themselves or for others to a public official, has already been converted into law. The sentence may reach six years if body features have been altered.

2. The norm that punishes writers [graffiti artists] more seriously (for up to a year) may be turned into law.
3. The norm that makes it harder for someone who has committed criminal damage to have their sentence suspended may be turned into law.

4. The norm that envisages administrative sanctions involving a minimum fine of 500 Euros to be paid by people who litter the streets may be turned into law.

5. The norm that forces an immediate return to the previous conditions at the occupant's expense in cases where buildings or public streets are squatted may be turned into law.

6. The norm that makes the crime of trespassing on someone's residence more serious may be turned into law.

7. The norms that grants new powers to local bodies to use video-surveillance systems may be turned into law.

8. The norm that allows the establishment of veritable citizens' patrols to which the task of co-operating in the guarding of the streets is to be entrusted, may be turned into law."

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