Row between Vatican, Italy over immigration turns personal

Crux | 1/30/2019 | Staff
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ROME - It was Holy Thursday 2016 when Pope Francis visited to wash their feet in a symbolic gesture of welcome, but today over 500 immigrants staying at a welcoming center just north of Rome are being forced to leave as the Italian government tightens its grip on immigration.

“The news of the eviction came out of the blue,” said Father Melchor José Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in an interview with Crux.

Everyone - Centers

“They just began to bring everyone out and to take them to other centers,” he said.

The closing date for the Castelnuovo di Porto welcoming center is set for Jan. 31, and hundreds of immigrants living there have already been moved to other similar places near Rome, including a center at Rocca di Papa that welcomed immigrants stranded at sea aboard the Diciotti vessel.

Minister - Interior - Matteo - Salvini - Country

The Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, who also leads the country’s right-wing populist party Northern League, issued a decree which, among other things, eliminated humanitarian protections for immigrants who are not granted refugee status.

“In centers such as this, there is only crime and a waste of money,” Salvini told local reporters in the days leading up to the eviction.

Policy - Blow-back - Media - Politics - Church

The policy has drawn significant blow-back from many in the media, politics and the local church. Italian bishops, cardinals and parish priests have spoken up against the evictions, as well as the closed ports under Salvini and his derogatory language against immigrants.

“After many years of hard work in the local community, it seems absurd to interrupt integration projects that are well underway,” said Bishop Gino Reali of Porto-Santa Rufina in a speech during a peaceful protest against the eviction.

Method - Indecent - Women - Men - Children

“The method for transferring them seems indecent to me for women, men and children who have at their back a dramatic history....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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