The Italian case is similar to others, but it may be emblematic of the raising to extreme levels of prohibitionist and securitarian practices, of their societal effects and of their combination with racist criminalization (as recently reported by the European commissioner for human rights, Hammarberg1). This is also why Italy appears to resemble neoconservative America more than other European countries, due to the particular blend of the less noble aspects that have traditionally been present in the country (consider the underground economy, and the hybridization between legal, informal, and criminal economies). Referring to the recent literature analysing the various aspects of the social construction of the condition of immigrants in Italy and racism in depth,2 I hereby summarize what is essential:

More than other European countries, Italy is the country in which a heightened uncertainty about immigration law perpetuates itself; discretion if not utter arbitrariness in the interpretation of norms (rarely in a sense that benefits the immigrant) are commonplace and strengthened by laws that grant disproportionate power to the police and the other authorities in charge of managing the various stages of the migration process; from the application for a visa to the request of asylum, up until obtaining a residence permit and/or asking for its renewal, Italian norms and practices de facto ensure the reproduction of irregularity, which only to a small extent results from entries into the country that are actually irregular.3 Over thirty years, Italian prohibitionism has contributed to the death of thousands of migrants as they attempted to enter Italian territory, to