The Emergency Management of Migration and Agricultural Workforce during the Pandemic
The Contradictory Outcomes of the 2020 Amnesty Law
The chapter aims to illustrate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, of the of amnesty law passed by the Italian government in May 2020 for migrants working in agriculture, highlighting the continuity of the latter measure with the previous policies regulating migration and agricultural labour. For decades, these policies have managed both international migrations and domestic mobility of the seasonal labour force through an emergency approach. The chapter resorts on data collected through statistics, interviews and participant observation inside informal settlements in the South of Italy. In conclusion, we argue that the health emergency accelerates the resort to administrative and bureaucratic emergency practices in the management of migrations, thus contributing to the reproduction of an emergency frame, that relegates labourers to the role of ‘victims of exploitation’, and at the same time regulates their possibility of movement and their employment opportunities.
Keywords: Informal settlements • Amnesty • Reception system • Emergency • Agriculture • Migrant farmworkers