Like Donald Trump, Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini hates immigrants, admires fascists, and is a big fan of Vladimir Putin. On Monday, Salvini announced a plan to conduct a census of the Roma population in Italy and deport anyone who doesn’t have Italian nationality.
Salvini did not attempt to mask his racism, making it explicit that he didn’t want any Roma in Italy at all, but would not be able to kick everyone out of the country. “Unfortunately we will have to keep the Italian Roma because we can’t expel them,” he told television station Telelombardia, Reuters reports.
Roma people have faced persecution in Europe for centuries and were among those targeted by the Nazis. In Italy, decades of discriminatory policies have created nomad camps, or ghettos, that essentially segregated Roma communities. “The Roma’s presumed vocation to nomadism has been the result of repression and persecution throughout Europe,” Santino Spinelli, a director of a Roma school in Italy, told the New York Times in 2017. “Running away is not a choice; it’s called forced mobility.”
Salvini, the same man who refused to let a ship carrying 600 migrants dock in Italy last week, said that the ministry would continue to evaluate “the Roma question” and reportedly wanted to see “see who, and how many” there are.