Migration: Caritas 2013 report shows no change in numbers

Poorer than Italians, steady rate of arrivals and departures

30 January, 18:15

    Lampedusa: migrants inside temporary shelter Center Lampedusa: migrants inside temporary shelter Center

    (by Angela Abbrescia)(ANSAmed) - ROME - Immigration remained at a constant level last year in Italy, with about five million foreigners in Italy including both documented and undocumented ones, and immigrant families continue to be poorer than their Italian counterparts. The overview provided by the Caritas e Migrantes 2013 report bears a great deal of resemblance to the previous year's, though this time observations and proposals have also been included - such as that immigration detention centers (CIE) be shut down as they are expensive, ineffective and useless. The 23rd edition of the report on migration was presented in the Italian capital on Thursday in the presence of Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge and the head of the Senate Human Rights Commission, Luigi Manconi. Migration continued to Italy over the past year but did not rise, while the increase in migrants (due to family reunification and new births) was almost entirely nullified by the departures of other migrants, either to return to their home countries or to move elsewhere. Migrant had to deal with the economic crisis from a disadvantaged position, as the median income of migrants is only 56% that of Italians, and a fourth of foreigners were unable to pay their rent and bills on time, compared with 10.5% and 8.3%, respectively. Especially serious was the problem of housing, as migrants experienced problems with it three times more than Italians did last year. Though foreigners living in the southern part of the country are poorer than those in the central and northern ones, the distance between the situation of migrants and Italians is narrower in the south. On the issue of unemployment, the report underscored that while among Italians it hit the young hardest, among foreigners it tended to be the family's main breadwinner to suffer from the loss of a job. While the demand for foreign labor decreased, in areas like personal services employment continued to grow. From a religious standpoint, there are only 6 official mosques, 36 Sikh temples and 335 Orthodox Christian churches, but ever more Sikh and Buddhist temples, Muslim prayer rooms, Neo-Pentacostal churches and other places of worship are being seen across the country. Some 16% more immigrants were granted citizenship, and there is a rising number of pupils in schools with foreign citizenship who were born in Italy, says the report: children who in many cases have never been to the country of origin of their parents (50%). The issue of reform for the citizenship law was cited by Minister Kyenge, who said that ''the next few weeks will be decisive'', since the measure has been put onto the Parliament's agenda for immediately after the electoral law. An entire chapter was set aside for the CIE. ''Places of insecurity more than social security for migrants, and which should therefore be closed,'' the general director of Migrantes, Monsignor Gian Carlo Perego, called them.

    The report underscored that the treatment of migrants in the CIE is in no way useful for border control or regulating migratory flows, and that it instead seems to ''soothe'' the anxieties of those who see foreigners as a danger to security.

    The lengthening of maximum stay in the centers to 18 months did nothing to improve the efficiency of the centers, it said, and in fact seems to to have reduced the number of people being repatriated after being held. (ANSAmed).

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