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Home » Archive » Legal Immigration And Local Resilience In Italy: The Case Of The Integration Councils

Marco CalabrĂ²
Legal Immigration And Local Resilience In Italy: The Case Of The Integration Councils
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Currently in Italy coexist different regulatory approaches not as much in the field of the entrance, but more in the field of the stay of legal immigrants. Local ordinances limiting social rights for foreigners, as well as some restrictive regional welfare laws are expression of “excluding” interventions, based on the cultural identity protection and on the formal citizenship enhancement (C. Schmitt). Nevertheless, some recent regional laws in the field of social integration, as well as local integration policy, reveal a different approach, founded on a new “permeable” concept of identity (J. Habermas): both those who welcome, and those who are welcomed, are supposed to place themselves in a mutual listening and understanding attitude. The sustainable development of our pluralist societies firstly needs the implementation of legal tools able to enhance local resilient approach – dynamic and open to change – supporting institutional (as well as spontaneous) moments of dialogue, discussion and mutual knowledge. Meanwhile, resilient attitudes should be considered even from the immigrants' point of view, through a differentiated analysis of several immigrant communities’ behaviours: even if foreigners share common stress causes (language difficulties, sense of marginalisation, self-determination obstacles), the way each single ethnic group faces these difficulties is often deeply different. That being stated, this paper moves from the consideration that national Italian legislation in the field of immigration recognizes to legal immigrant a specific right to be involved in social, political and economic policy at local level. However – distinguishing between policy of immigration and policy for immigration – the Italian Constitutional Court has stated the exclusive regional legislative power in the field of participation rights of heterogeneous regional laws (and also their municipal implementation) concerning one of the most effective and interesting model of political participation for legal immigrants: the integration council. It consists in a collegial body, holder of advisory functions in the field of immigration local policy, partly (in some cases exclusively) made up of representatives of the legal immigrant population present locally. The study will have as its objects several points: the councils legal status; the members designation methods; the binding or not-binding effectiveness of acts issued by the integration council. The purpose is to underline the several points of distinction existing among the various models of integration councils operating in Italy at municipal and regional levels, in order to identify best practices, as well as critical issues and weaknesses.

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