Abstract and Keywords
Italy has shifted from being an emigration to an immigration country. In spite of this, Italian laws have been shaped according to an emergency and punitive logic, as if migration were mainly a public security concern. The selection of legal entrants has been strictly linked to regular workers, ignoring the high demand for foreign workers in the underground economy. Recurrent regularizations or amnesties show the paradox of such a restrictive system. Illegal immigration became a crime only in 2009. In recent decades, the incidence of immigrants among reported, arrested, convicted, and detained people has increased. However, research has shown no clear link between immigration and criminality. The over-representation of immigrants in crime statistics can be viewed as the result of both selective activity of criminal justice agencies and a process of primary and secondary criminalization of immigration.
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