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Home » Archive » “Enemy Aliens” In Italy? The Conflation Between Terrorism And Immigration

Mario Savino
“Enemy Aliens” In Italy? The Conflation Between Terrorism And Immigration
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The global «war on terror» has strengthened domestic executive
powers vis-à-vis foreign suspect terrorists by establishing a “special”
regime: executive detentions (often indefinite), extraordinary renditions,
military trials, freezing of funds, selective use of police powers (mainly to
the detriment of Muslim people) have been part of the tool-box employed
by various liberal democracies in their fight against the terrorist threat. In
Italy, by contrast, the empowerment of the government has mainly been
achieved by exploiting the “ordinary” immigration law tools. The
trajectory of the special anti-terror deportation power illustrates the
point: the 2005 anti-terrorist regime – establishing severe restrictions on
due process rights – has been rarely used and gradually dismantled;
deportation orders against suspected terrorists have been rather adopted
on the basis of the 1998 immigration regime, which regulates the general
executive power to deport aliens threatening public order and national
security. The result is a peculiar conflation between anti-terrorism and
immigration measures. Even if such conflation is common to many
countries, a distinguishing feature of the Italian mix is that the instru -
mental relationship between the two policy goals is reversed. For the
Italian government, salus rei publicae seems to be dependent more on the
control of North-African migration than on the prevention of terrorist
attacks. This inevitably marks a shift in the Italian understanding of the
«enemy alien» category.

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