When I posted a one question poll asking whether or not the children of immigrants should be granted automatic citizenship, I was not prepared for the type and number of questions I was asked , before many would hazard an answer. It actually delighted me that people thought the issue important enough to want to clarify what I meant , exactly. Many people wanted to know the context and asked ’are you talking about the USA?’ Others wanted to know if the children were born in the country in which their parents immigrated to or if they arrived with their parents. Some took the opportunity to ask me what, exactly, was my interest in Italian immigration. One respondent said she did not answer questions ‘outside of the writing life.’ Still another said he was vehemently opposed to both immigrants and their children having any kind of status in ‘our’ country, but decided not to take my poll. One person, joked that my poll would hardly provide the proper “crossection,” of the population needed, which, of course I knew. This is a blog, afterall, and not a scientific experiment. Still, 82 respondents is not too shabby, even if I did have to twist a few arms.
And so, I will admit, that I left the question intentionally ambiguous. I simply wanted to get a sort of general impression of how people think about immigration and who “belongs” and who doesn’t. I thought of every possible response and every category EXCEPT for the one which would exclude any possibility of citizenship for children of immigrants was answered. Even the ‘I don’t know’ section got a few votes. While Italy does not currently have a policy for the children of immigrants, there is no lack of support for one. The proposed Sarubbi-Granata Bill would grant citizenship to the children of immigrants born in Italy. Supporters make so much sense on this point: if they know the language, were born in the country, go to the same schools as everyone else, etc. etc. it is beyond ABSURD that they would not be granted automatic citizenship. Not only do they deserve this, it could go a long way in mitigating so much of the racism directed at them, simply because they are seen as not really belonging—not Italian, or not Italian enough. Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano continues to speak openly and passionately in support of immigration reform.
The so-called “Balotelli generation” is the present and future of Italy, a reference to Mario Barwuha Balotelli, an Italian soccer player for both Manchester City and Italy’s national team, adopted by an Italian couple. Shamefully and paradoxically, that Balotelli is a beloved national hero has not protected him from racism in Italy.
Italian politician (MEB-Member of European Parliament) and journalist, David Sassoli, heads a campaign called “Chi Nasce Qui e di Qui”—Whoever is Born Here Belongs Here. This campaign has the support of many whose opinions count. We can only hope that it continues to gain momentum and that the children of immigrants in Italy, in fact the EU in general, will get what they rightly deserve: citizenship in their country of birth.