Legal immigrants ‘are my brothers’, says Italian rightwing leader

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Rome, March 21 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s anti-migrant League party leader Matteo Salvini on Wednesday denied he was xenophobic, claiming that law-abiding immigrants living in Italy legally were his “brothers”.

“Legal immigrants who work and who pay taxes and send their children to school are my brothers, but fake refugees who wage war here must be deported immediately,” he tweeted.

“Am I asking too much?” asked Salvini, whose party vowed during the election campaign to introduce mass deportations of asylum seekers to Africa as part of a radical reshaping of migration policies should it win.

Salvini’s tweet included a newspaper article with an interview with Mustapha Nadif, the Moroccan president of an association of immigrants in Italy’s northeast Friuli region.

The League, leader of the centre-right alliance which won the biggest share of votes (37 percent) in the national election, has claimed the right to try and form a coalition government and is also eyeing at least one of the parliamentary speakerships.

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Although the populist Five-Star Movement won the largest share of ballots cast (some two-thirds), the League more than quadrupled its share of votes compared with the 2013 national election.

–IANS/AKI

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