We arrive around 15:30 and meet about 25 refugees in front of the gates
Some migrants come out of the Centre and they tell us that they also had to sleep outside for 5, 13, 20 days when they arrived. Does it seem normal that an asylum seeker has to sleep in the street with cars going by at high speed? Those who are inside bring food outside and share what they have.
The average stay at the Centre, which is run by the co-operative Albatros, is 7 to 8 months the Vice President tells us. Outside the young men say that some stay for more than 10 months waiting for their interview with the Commission (for their asylum request). They are tired of waiting. There is nothing at the Centre, for everything they need they have to walk into town, at least 4 kms away. They have to be back by midnight. But not all of them are authorised to leave the Centre, which should be an open centre. Yet at Pian de Lago, the migrants are locked behind bars and must ask permission to go out, which they normally do. But lots of them wait along time to receive their authorisation slip, one Pakistani has not been allowed out for 3 weeks. When we ask why, they say, "He always loses it, he's just waiting for it to be renewed."
There are also 10 women and 2 newborns at the Centre. They stay in the first of the containers, next to that of the men. There is no room for family units. The women all sleep together, even the wives who arrived with their husbands stay with the single women. They spend their days together. It gets hot inside the container with 5 sets of bunk beds. And in some of the men's containers, there are 11 of them inside.
There is also a family who have been granted a humanitarian permit. They were sent by Manduria to another Centre in the south and then on to Caltanissetta because no SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) places could be found for them. Instead of creating more second reception places for families, they were sent to the CARA. And this isn't the first time that this has happened, as Albatros also confirm.
From the outside we can see the restructured CIE. There are 54 people inside. We cannot enter. But we are told that no one stays longer than 6 months inside.
After a quick look around the ex CDA which is now functioning as a CARA, we go back outside. The migrants are waiting for us and tell us further stories. They had been sent to the Caltanissetta Centre from other parts of the country. One was actually sent there from near the Swiss border and doesn't understand why he must also wait here in this Centre....like many others they ask us for help. "It's shameful what they are doing here with the migrants" one of the workers from Sportello per Immigrati di Caltanissetta comments. There are many others who complain about the lack of healthcare assistance. One of them shows us his broken arm- he never had it x-rayed and now it hasn't mended straight. They tell us that the doctors told him that was the best way to treat it.
Another big problem which causes stress, is the lack of training, language and work courses.
It's completely shameful that these people are forced to live in such conditions.
For more in depth treatment of the subject, read Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo's article.
Judith Gleitze, Borderline Sicilia/borderline-europe