ASGI clarifies the issues involved in repealing the criminal offence of illegal entry and residence

A recent development in Italy has been the response to the tragic shipwreck in Lampedusa in October 2013 that cost over 360 people their lives and other scandals concerning the treatment of migrants, which have resulted in parliamentary scrutiny of a proposal to abrogate [repeal] the criminal offence of illegal entry and residence, turning it into an administrative offence, approved by the Senate in its first reading vote on 21 January 2014.

Yet, in view of the public, media and political debate linking it to the shipwreck and to overcrowding in prisons, ASGI intervened to remind the public that this offence does not contribute to overcrowding in prisons and has no real bearing on the Lampedusa incident. The issue is that it is a "manifesto law" to indicate the state's toughness towards migrants, which does not serve any practical purpose other than instrumentally equating irregular migrants with criminals.

Moreover, it is expensive in terms of money and human resources deployed to enact it and its ability to fulfil its original purpose, to circumvent the application of limits in the treatment of returnees imposed by the 2008 Returns Directive, was annulled by the European Court of Justice in April 2011. Thus, it should self-evidently be repealed.

ASGI Statement: ASGI to the senators: these are the good reasons for a quick abrogation of the criminal offence of illegal entry and residence (pdf)

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