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'Immigration has changed and laws should too', says minister

Almost 5 mln today compared with 500,000 in the 1980s

04 February, 16:48
'Immigration has changed and laws should too', says minister (ANSA) - Rome, February 4 - Minister for Integration Cécile Kyenge on Tuesday reiterated her position on the 2002 Bossi-Fini immigration law on the sidelines of a conference. "Migration has changed. In the 1980s there were 500,000 immigrants, compared with almost five million today. Therefore, laws should change," said the minister, an immigrant from Congo herself. "Over the past few years, migration has shifted from being transitory to stable". The number of new migrants to come to Italy dropped by 9.1%, or 35,000 people, in 2012 over the previous year, national statistics agency Istat reported last week.

New arrivals two years ago totaled 351,000 people.

What has to change, she stressed, is above all "the approach, placing the individual and his or her rights at the center. However, there is also the need to comply with European directives and regulations".

The so-called Bossi-Fini law was ratified under the previous center-right administration, in which the anti-immigrant Northern League was a minority coalition partner. Kyenge has been the target of repeated racist slurs from the League since becoming integration minister under the current left-right administration led by Democratic Party (PD) Premier Enrico Letta.

The minister announced in late January that she had prepared a bill "to amend or repeal discriminatory laws" in Italy.

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