Mayor of the Sicilian city of Palermo Leoluca Orlando has declared that Italy should ban residency permits altogether and allow migrants to flood into the country, comparing the permits as morally equivalent to the death penalty.
The 70-year-old mayor, who recently offered to take in the 629 illegals from the Aquarius migrant transport ship after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini banned it from Italian ports, wants to make his city the “capital of tolerance”, French magazine L’Obs reports.
“We are convinced that migrants are a resource and not a problem,” Orlando told the magazine and added: “This situation is an opportunity to defend the rights of all human beings to move and live in the place that suits them.”
NGO ‘Rescue’ Ship Carrying Over 600 Migrants BLOCKED by Italy’s New Govt https://t.co/K1XNNGMro9
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 11, 2018
Arguing for mass migration, Orlando said he did not see a difference between the migrants and the residents of his city.
“When I am asked ‘how many immigrants to Palermo?’, I want to answer: ‘None because we are all Palermitans, them and us,'” he said.
“In our Charter signed by the main mayors of the south, we demand the outright abolition of the residency permit. It must be suppressed, as the death penalty has been abolished,” Orlando added in support of a move which would allow any migrant to stay in Italy regardless of whether they had a legal asylum claim or not.
The mayor slammed populist Interior Minister and leader of La Lega (The League) Matteo Salvini claiming that his move to block the migrant transport NGOs was just an election stunt and added: “Faced with such moves, the number of my fellow citizens who want to put a brake on populism in Sicily and abroad, can only increase.”‘
Despite the 70-year-old’s rhetoric, La Lega and Salvini have soared in polls since the national election earlier this year with a recent survey from polling firm Tecnè showing the populist anti-mass migration party approaching the same level of popularity as their Five Star Movement coalition partner.
Italy, Tecnè poll:
M5S-EFDD: 28% (-3)
LEGA-ENF: 26% (+1)
PD-S&D: 19% (+2)
FI-EPP: 11% (-2)
Field work: 12/06/18
Sample size: 1,001
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) June 14, 2018
The interview is not the first time Orlando has expressed his desire for mass migration. In January he told French centre-left newspaper Libération, “The future has two names: Google and Ali the immigrant. Google expresses the virtual connection and Palermo is today the best wired and computerised city in the entire Mediterranean. Ali the migrant represents the human connection. We want to be a welcoming and modern city.”