ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says a proposal to decriminalize illegal immigration won't be on an upcoming Cabinet meeting's agenda because citizens feel unsafe.
Renzi told state TV Sunday night that while enforcement clogs the justice system, "there's a perception of being unsafe" and thus no need to rush to decriminalize.
Illegally entering Italy became a crime in 2009 during Silvio Berlusconi's government, which included an anti-immigrant party.
With some 300,000 people arriving illegally by sea alone in the past two years, investigators say prosecuting each migrant who arrives illegally or overstays residency permits is too costly and time-consuming. Prosecutors also say decriminalization could encourage migrants to provide information about human smugglers.
Violators risk fines of up to 10,000 euros ($11,100).
Opinion surveys have found many Italians associate migrants with crime.