24 September 2009

In Turin he has an 8-month-old daughter and a wife. But he’s at risk of repatriation

In the end, she will be the victim. A beautiful little girl of eight months. Her name is Mlek which in Arabic means Angel. She was born in Turin, where she lived happily until September 30 with her mom and dad. But then they took her father away. It happened at a checkpoint on a highway exit just outside Turin. The father has no residency permit, so he was taken to the Centre Identifications and Expulsions (CIE) in Turin, where he will soon be repatriated. His name is Raffa and he comes from Khouribga, the capital of Moroccan emigration towards Italy. He’s 35 years old, and has lived in Italy since he was a boy. He arrived in Turin in 1997, twelve years ago. In 2007 he married J.I., a girl from Casablanca (who has requested to remain anonymous). And then came Angel, Mlek. An innocent child who is at risk of being separated from her father.

The first residency permit Raffa got was in 2002 with the Bossi-Fini amnesty. Two years later, however, the permission was withdrawn due to a conviction for which he spent two years in prison. With the birth of the child, Raffa would have put his documents in order. His wife had found an employer for the amnesty for caregivers. She made the request on September 7. She shows me the paperwork while we sip mint tea in her sister and brother-in-law’s home, where she’s been living since they took Raffa away. Her husband could have applied for a residency permit for family cohesion and gotten a contract from the firm where he was working as a painter and getting paid under the table. But things have turned out differently and now everything is much more difficult.

To explain all this to me is his defense attorney. He appealed against the expulsion, asking for family cohesion with his wife. But the game is being played on thin ice. To ask for family cohesion with her husband, Mrs. J.I. must have a residency permit. And her husband needs to have had a valid residency document in the past year. Now, Mrs. J.I. does not have a residence permit. But she has applied for amnesty and has the receipt in hand. A receipt that makes her inexpellable and therefore in a way legally resident. On his part, last year Raffa did not have a residency permit, but would have been entitled to it, being the father of a newborn baby. And indeed at that time he had asked the police headquarters in Turin for a six-month permit for medical care, which in these cases is the permission given to fathers in the first six months following the birth of a child. The police accepted his request, but never printed the document, which has since expired. Now everything depends on the ability of the lawyer and the sensitivity of the judge. Meanwhile, however, the judge has not suspended the deportation order while awaiting sentence. And every day that passes, it’s increasingly likely that Raffa will be expelled and separated from his family and everything he has built in 13 years of life in Turin.

PS Raffa was repatriated on October 23, 2009. His wife, J.I., and little girl Mlek have stayed behind, on their own


translated by Camilla Gamba