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Italy Delays Plans To Give Citizenships To 800,000 Children Of Immigrants

The Italian government postponed plans Sunday to push through legislation that would give citizenship rights to children of immigrants in the near future.

The law, which took two years to reach the upper house of the parliament, would make 800,000 people citizens. Children born on Italian soil to non-Italian parents and those who arrived before their 12th birthday and have spent at least five years in formal education would be eligible for citizenship under the proposed law.

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni called it a “just law” but said it lacked political support during a time when Italy suffers a major migrant crisis.

“Given the urgent deadlines in the Senate calendar and the difficulties that have emerged in some parts of the majority, I don’t think the conditions are right to approve the draft law on citizenship for foreign minors born in Italy before the summer break,” Gentiloni said in a statement Sunday, according to Reuters.

More than 101,417 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean sea during 2017, with almost 85 percent arriving in Italy. The Italian government has threatened to close its ports for foreign ships if other EU countries don’t help out.

The Times reported Saturday that the Italian government is considering a “nuclear option” to encourage thousands of migrants to leave. The plan involves issuing temporary visas that would allow them to leave the country and move to other European Union countries. (RELATED: Italy Considers ‘Nuclear Option’ To Ease Growing Migrant Crisis)

“Letting migrants travel once they reach Italy would create a real problem for our EU neighbors,” Luigi Manconi, an Italian senator with the ruling Democratic Party, told The Times. “But I hope it would force France to confront the migrant problem head on.”

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