At first, hotspots seemed to provide an opportunity to share the responsibility of supporting those arriving in Europe in search of protection and a better life; a burden-sharing mechanism or safety valve releasing the pressure on Italy’s crowded and chaotic reception system. But the safety valve has remained shut. More than a year has passed since the beginning of the refugee relocation programme and little has been achieved. By the end of November this year, only 1,800 people had been relocated to other EU countries from Italy’s hotspots. In contrast, throughout 2015 alone there were 25,000 requests for Italy to take asylum seekers back from other EU Member States.

Italy’s reception centres and asylum system lack the capacity to deal with the situation. Processing times are long and unpredictable, leaving people in limbo. To free up space, the Italian authorities have adopted a stricter approach to asylum applications from countries that are not at war, increasing the number of rejections considerably. Since late 2015, ‘deferred expulsion orders’ have become more common, given mainly to people from West African countries and demanding that they leave Italy within seven days.

Guest post by Simon McMahon, Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. He is the author of Immigration and Citizenship in an Enlarged European Union (Palgrave, 2015), editor of The Handbook of International Political Economy of Migration (co-edited with Leila Talani, Edward Elgar, 2015) and researcher on the…

via Border Control and the Precarious Lives of Migrants in Italy — Border Criminologies blog

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