Workers protest the closure of immigrant reception center in Sicily

The closure was ordered by the far-right Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who has maintained a harsh stance against the reception of migrants from the war-torn North African countries.

July 10, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Migrant centre Italy

On July 9, around 50 employees of the immigrant reception center at Mineo, Sicily, protested the closure of the center and asked for job guarantees. The protest was led by the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL). The closure of the once largest asylum-seeker reception center, Cara di Mineo, was ordered by the far-right Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini. After Salvini himself arrived to ensure the closure, the employees protested outside the center with a banner that read, “Today we celebrate the funeral of Cara di Mineo.”

According to Ruptly, Cara hosted 4,173 asylum seekers at its peak in July 2014. But this number declined to 2,526 in 2018 and to 152 this year because of the Italian government’s tough policy on immigrants. Salvini had ordered the closure of the center earlier in January. Following the order, 65 inmates were transferred in the first week of July.

The Local reported that Mineo’s current mayor, Giuseppe Mistretta, has threatened to resign if the national government does not help with the post-migration transition and the relocation of the 400 people who have been working at Cara.

Cara di Mineo was opened in 2011 by transforming a former military camp to accommodate the refugee flow that followed the Arab Spring. It became Europe’s largest migrant reception center.

Earlier in June, the migrant reception center Via Enrico Mattei in Bologna was closed down under the instigation of Matteo Salvini. Members of the Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) had then helped relocate almost 140 inhabitants of the center.