We Are Talking About People: The Regularization of Immigrants

Scalabrinian Missionaries – Region Europe & Africa

Note to the press

Uncertain scenarios and emergencies on all sides. Don’t snap. Italy is “advancing” like this.

When one could, and should plan, it wasn’t done enough because other uncertainties and other urgencies, often only presumed, dominated the scene. Now that everything seems to have returned to the forefront of the picture, a race has begun for who gets the most and first. We saw this for the reopening of the commercial sectors. The criterion of health security dictated the roadmap: “yes” sectors and “no” sectors. Disapproval from the world of football, beauticians, hairdressers. Necessary safety on the one hand and fearful economic collapse on the other.

What about people? Have we forgotten them? Of course not. It will be said that we think about them in a concrete way through the restart of economic activity and the wide subsidiarity foreseen. That is not our criterion. For the usual reasons: people in the service of the economy, and not vice versa, and those who are not directly involved in an economic process (the elderly, young people, families, so-called “illegal immigrants”) simply either do not exist or make do as they can. We disagree. This is what is happening also with the issue of the regularization of the residence permits of ‘foreign workers’ present on our territory. Exactly: workers and ‘not yet’ men and women. The problem has arisen in recent weeks, at first before a people of the invisible, with health conditions that are difficult to control in the midst of a coronavirus emergency, and has been reinforced, in these hours, by the urgent need to ensure the collection in the fields, now just around the corner; it has even been defined as an ‘unstoppable issue’ (Minister Provenzano, 5 May 2020).

If we’d known sooner, we’d have gotten equipped! If there’s nothing else we can do, we’ll have to make do again. How? With the political debate that is starting to make the count on who to regularize and who not: the Ministers of Agriculture, the Interior, Labour and the South are looking for an understanding. The balances are delicate and, not even very covertly, there are those who are aiming to postpone the proposal until the issue has been sunk. A certain opposition, accomplice of a certain disclosure, does not miss its total dissent seasoned with insinuating statements: ‘the virus taken as a pretext to regularize an army of “illegal immigrants!” (Libero, May 6, 2020). Nobody wants to give lessons. If it may be useful, we would like to point out that the solidarity ‘re-emerged’ in these months has highlighted how it is not ‘a superfluous’, that is, an allocation to others of what advances but ‘a necessary’ to which everyone has a right. This is not all. The economy and the labour market cannot be drugged by irregularities, which, in turn, become a flywheel of illegalities that generate widespread and only apparently ghettoized vulnerabilities. We all pay the consequences.

More. If health is a precious good for oneself and for others, and it should even be ‘traced’, it is not clear why a part of men and women present on our territory should be monitored only to ‘our advantage’ and not also to ‘their advantage’. Finally, in the face of the proposal to regularize the residence of the immigrant population, in order to bring about real benefits, we think that it should be combined with justice before the partial advantages of (our) health and (our) economy. Frankly, it is an opportunity for everyone: and more than a ‘pretext’, regularization seems to us to be a presumption, that of wanting to do without it.


Fr. Mauro Lazzarato
Regional Superior