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January 29 2010

Press Release: An immigrant is a human being: people, not criminals. Let us work for integration

 
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The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses its concern at recent statements by people in government on immigration and security. The unreasonable equation between immigration and crime not only does not correspond to the truth, but it leads to the criminalization of immigrants, does not respect the rights of persons and deform reality.  ISTAT (the National Statistical Office) figures of recent years show that immigrants who have settled in our country and who are in a situation of regularity do not violate the laws for criminal offenses more than  Italian citizens.

If the Italian prisons are overcrowded with large numbers of immigrants is because of the crime of illegal immigration, which concerns 87% of charges  related to immigrants. Moreover most of the foreign prisoners are awaiting trial (and therefore not considered guilty pursuant to Art. 27 of the Italian Constitution). To equate immigration and crime is therefore unfounded and unjust. It also hides under the blanket media coverage of the controversy, the fundamental question of integration. Only a true policy of integration and simplification of legislation to regulate the presence of so many foreign workers is a necessary response in this time of great historical movements of populations.

The Community invites to reflect on the recent words of  the Pope: "An immigrant is a human being, different in origin, culture, and traditions, but a person to comply with rights and duties, particularly in the workplace, where the temptation to exploitation is easier, but also as part of the concrete conditions of life. I invite to look at the face of the other and discover that he has a soul, a history and a life that he/she is a person and God loves him as he loves me "(Angelus, January 10, 2010).


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