Roll Up the Welcome Mat: Migrant and Refugee Holding Centers Closing Across Italy

At the end of 2012, I posted about my friend Mody who had sent me some articles claiming the closing of Migrant and Refugee centers in Italy at the end of December of 2012.

He had been living in one for quite some time and was alarmed that , without employment (though not for lack of trying) that he would be put out on the street.  He justifiably worried about what his condition and the condition of so very many others would be once the place he called “home” would shut the door in his face.  Unbelievable, the centers did not close, and so, he and the others were given a reprieve of sorts.


But time gets us all, and if Italy needs to close the centers, they will close.  Actually, they are slated to close tomorrow. A reprieve is , after all, just a stop-gap measure to delay the inevitable. Everyone knew that the closing of the centers was going to happen  though what it hard to understand is the reason why  they are closing.  Or perhaps, given Italy’s penchant for terribly bureaucracy and mismanagement  of government funds, it is not surprising.

refugee center

Thirteen thousand (13,000) migrants and refugees will be affected.  Many of these were refugees who arrived during the ‘Arab Spring’ and will now be essentially homeless. Will be, for all intents and purposes, now , perhaps, perceived as more of a menace that they previously were, if that is even possible.


This is a bit of a jumbled picture as well as a catch-22.  Follow me here as I attempt to unravel things.

The Italian Government has spent nearly 1.3 billion euros(!!!) that critics and humanitarian groups note has ended up lining the pockets of hotels, cooperatives and individuals who claimed to offer “homes” for migrants instead of spending the money on education and funding other initiatives that would help to integrate them into society.  Now, the money has run out.  Surprise!

Big Number!

And so , since the migrants were deprived of the real opportunity to find work, (which means they must often travel around , something they can often not do freely) and live parallel lives to Italians, but have precious little integration as contributing members of society, the interior ministry has instructed its top representatives in Italian towns and cities across the country  to provide the migrants and refugees with documents to travel (in the absence of passports) and to provide them with 500 euros (!) each.   Measures, it is said, to help them leave the country.


I don’t even really know what to say here. 


Kudos to the humanitarian groups that are galvanizing protests in schools and universities  to help to save the migrants and their families. Kudos, as well, to  Italians citizens who have a heart and who  understand this crisis for the insular, racist and bureaucratic debacle that is really is.


To think that those who have already sacrificed so much, left those they loved , traveled so far and who have encountered only anger and uncertainty, are now expected to be on the move, once again.  Five-hundred euros won’t get you very far for very long. Everyone knows that.  It is disturbing to think, but  maybe that was the sinister goal all along.




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