ADIR - L'altro diritto

ISSN 1827-0565

Immigrants' deviance
The role of the criminal organisations

Massimo Di Bello, 2000


This research provides some reflection hints on the legal and illegal routes of Italian immigration in the last decade. At present the most significant aspects of migration are the adoption of restrictive policies by the states; the increase in illegal immigration and a general deterioration in the living standards of the immigrants.

From the legal point of view the main change in Italy was the 1998 law, meant to govern immigration. But in spite of all this Italy was entirely unprepared for immigration: integration is not only a matter of laws.

On the one hand stability in the migrants communities increases, but on the other hand bureaucracy malfunctions and the laws are not carried out. The purely 'legal' approach seems to fail. Moreover the arguments on the connection between immigration and crime baffle for their naivety. A simple comparison of the data on Italians and foreigners offenders is misleading.

This research attempts a more in-depth interpretation of the available surveys and suggests a triple feature for immigrant's deviance: the first is "symbolic-motivational", a consequence of the expressive needs of the immigrants; the second is linked mostly to their precarious living conditions; the third is linked to immigrants exploitation, and often involves organized crime. The influence of organized crime on immigrants' deviance is significantly increasing, as is increasing the role of organized crime itself in illegal immigration. It is not by chance that the third chapter discusses the 'chain of deviance': the link between immigrants trafficking, immigrants exploitation and the offences committed by foreigners citizens. The stronger the organized crime dealing with illegal immigration, the easier for the immigrants to enter criminal circuits.