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Campaign to change Italy’s path to citizenship gathering pace

Campaign to change Italy’s path to citizenship gathering pace

The committee of Italian students, teachers and parents “School Priority” has launched a campaign to ask for the quick approval of a citizenship reform, the so-called “Ius Scholae” (Right to School).

“Priorit√† alla Scuola”, or “School Priority”, a committee of students, teachers and parents created during the COVID-19 pandemic, has signed up to the National Network for Citizenship and is launching the campaign ‘E’ ora di cittadinanza, tutti diritti a scuola!” – It’s time for citizenship, everybody straight (or has rights, a play on words in Italian) to school – with initiatives taking place on Wednesday, June 8 across Italy.

The events are aimed at raising awareness in public about the need to reform citizenship laws. The committee explained, in a statement released on June 7, that a draft reform currently in Parliament, the so-called Ius Scholae (right to school), represents the “right occasion to radically question the current situation.”

Education not blood to determine citizenship in draft law

A draft law, proposed by Five Star Movement (M5S) lawmaker Giuseppe Brescia, was initially approved on March 9 by the Lower House’s constitutional affairs commission. The law proposed changing the current route to citizenship for children born in Italy, which is primarily based on the Ius Sanguinis (blood rights in Latin, meaning that Italian citizenship is granted to children born to Italian parents) to one based on the Ius Scholae, (meaning that citizenship would be conferred once you had completed a school education in the country.)

For example, under the proposed legislation, children who arrive in Italy before turning 12 must attend a school that is part of Italy’s national education system for at least five years in order to gain citizenship.

The draft legislation which is being examined by Parliament could change in some details. However, it is a proposal that could reform Italy’s routes to citizenship.

‘877,000 minors without citizenship attend public schools’

Italy, continued the statement has a “citizenship law that is 30-years-old and uncivilized, because it is extraordinarily restrictive, totally inadequate given the changes that have occurred in the country’s life, society and demography.

Minors who were born in Italy to migrant parents, cannot acquire citizenship until they are 18, and can demonstrate 18 years of uninterrupted residency. “It is an unacceptable anachronism, it is a wound to democracy and civil life”, the statement continued.

“As of today, there are 877,000 minors who were born and/or grew up in Italy, who are attending public school but don’t have citizenship. This excludes them, among other things, from important educational paths and experiences.”

‘Current law is an instrument of racism’

The “School Priority” movement called current citizenship legislation a “tool of institutional racism” which blocks “positive dynamics currently taking place in society and fosters forms of racism and discrimination in daily practices.”

The organization urged politicians to “close this uncivil chapter of Italian legislation. Granting citizenship to minors who were born, grew up and were schooled in Italy, before they turn 18, is an elementary measure of civilization”, it concluded.

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