Italy has been warned against approving a law that grants automatic citizenship to all children born in the country of immigrant parents. President of Alliance for Italy Party Francesco Rutelli said he was against the idea of reducing citizenship to a mere piece of paper which anyone can easily obtain.
If Italy approves a law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the national territory, the country risks attracting many foreign women coming here to simply give birth so that their children can become Italians, Mr. Rutelli claimed.
He also claimed that a place such as Italy’s island of Lampedusa would be transformed into one of Europe’s biggest maternity wards.
Observing that whoever becomes an Italian citizen also becomes a European citizen, Mr. Rutelli said that due to Italy’s geographic location, it risks becoming the place where foreigners gain free access to the European Union.
According to Mr. Rutelli, citizenship should be obtained as the final stage of a journey and not as a mere administrative act of issuing a certificate.
He said that he favoured reduction of the residence requirement for obtaining citizenship. At the moment a foreigner who would like to become an Italian citizen through residence must have been a legal resident for at least 10 years. “Ten years is too much,” Mr. Rutelli said.
He said that citizenship should be given to all children born in Italy who have completed the obligatory education (third year of lower secondary education).
An adult who would like to become an Italian citizen must know Italian language and basic rules and must make a commitment to recognize the Italian Constitution, Mr. Rutelli said.
Mr. Rutelli seems to ignore the fact that no woman would willingly undertake a dangerous journey on those unsafe boats just to get here and give birth. The people who arrive by boat at Lampedusa are asylum seekers, not people looking for where to give birth so that their children can obtain citizenship.
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a