I am Mohamed Tailmoun of the G2 Network – Seconde Generazioni, an association set up in 2005 to promote the overcoming of the current law on the acquisition of citizenship and the implementation of ius soli, i.e. the right to become an Italian citizen because one is born and/or grew up in the territory. A concept that has become almost taboo in political discourse today.
I found the research carried out as part of the European project Consulting EUTH very interesting and I was very struck by the links between the axes ‘political participation’, ‘youth’ and ‘integration’, particularly considering how they are declined in Italy.
This intersection is quite touched upon in the research, which is very relevant for reflecting on the Italian situation: Italy is a country that does not give many opportunities to young people, and it is overlooked that the ‘youth question’ is an issue linked to migration. It cannot be overlooked that our parents are younger than the average population and that the population between the ages of 15 and 25 is of foreign origin in large numbers.
Another fundamental problem stems from the fact that when we talk about access and participation, and therefore political integration, we cannot overlook the gap in economic opportunities and ‘wealth’ differences between young people: opportunities are strongly conditioned by the status of parents, their resources and their network. Consider, for example, the availability of home ownership, which is either passed on by the family of origin or in any case acquired with the support of the family of origin. This perspective is absent for the children of immigrants, who hardly manage to buy a house.
There is also a clear break for young children of immigrants between their parents’ professions and the areas in which their children try to realise themselves professionally, with the consequence of having a very fragile or completely absent network. I had to build my own path piece by piece, while many of my Italian generation were able to follow in their parents’ footsteps or at least take their own steps in paths already marked out.
Alongside the fact of not being able to play the card of one’s family’s economic and social background, there is the issue of the residence permit and the preclusion of citizenship, two factors that on the one hand heavily affect the enjoyment of economic and social rights, as they negatively condition access to work, health, education, but also housing; on the other hand they inhibit political participation.
It is therefore necessary to reflect on and deepen the issue of political participation, dwelling in particular on the contradiction of an approach that intends to promote political participation to young children of immigrants, without considering their objective personal situation of a permanent obstacle race in the construction of their life project in a context that excludes and silences them through multiple factors, including economic discrimination linked to the absence of concrete actions aimed at implementing Article 3 of the Italian Constitution, i.e. the removal of obstacles to substantive equality.