Italy's new Interior Minister, and the country's de facto leader now that the League has surpassed 5-Star is national poalling, Matteo Salvini told an Italian television station Monday that he plans to conduct a census of the Roma community, and will kick anyone out of the country residing there illegally.
"I've asked the ministry to prepare a dossier on the Roma question in Italy," Salvini told TeleLombardia, adding that the country's large community of Roma, also known as Gypsies, was "chaos" several years after a crackdown.
“Unfortunately we will have to keep the Italian Roma because we can’t expel them,” Salvini added.
Italy's Roma community is vast, and consists of mostly poor people from Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Italian authorities periodically clean out Gypsy squatter camps at the outskirts of major cities in the hopes that the notoriously nomadic Roma will find another place to set up camp.
Salvini's remarks drew immediate comparisons to Adolf Hitler - with liberal politicians warning that Italy had a "terrible" history in which they conducted a Fascist-era census of Jews.
"You can work for security and respect for rules without becoming fascist," tweeted Democratic lawmaker Ettore Rosato. "The announced census of Roma is vulgar and demagogical."
Si può lavorare per la #sicurezza e il rispetto delle regole senza diventare razzisti. Spero Salvini lo capisca.— Ettore Rosato (@Ettore_Rosato) June 18, 2018
Il censimento annunciato dei Rom è volgare e demagogico, e purtroppo ricorda solo pessimi precedenti
In a follow-up statement, Salvini said he had no plans to take digital fingerprints or make index cards of individual Roma - rather, he wants a study of the overall situation.
"We are aiming primarily to care for the children who aren't allowed to go to school regularly because they prefer to introduce them to a life of crime. We also want to check how millions of euro that come from European funds are spent," said Salvini.
Salvini said over Facebook and Twitter that he also thinks of "those poor children who are trained in theft and lawlessness."
Qualcuno parla di “shock”. Perché???— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) June 18, 2018
Io penso anche a quei poveri bambini educati al furto e all'illegalità.https://t.co/yO4Og1Ky0T