Domenico Lucano has been the mayor of Raice since 2004 and many young people left his commune looking for better jobs in urban areas – just like elsewehere in Italy. Lucano has been attempting to reverse this trend by encouraging the settlement of migrants – even illegally.
The prosecution in Locri – under whose jurisdiction Riace falls – said that Lucano is being charged with aiding pretend marriages to help migrants gain legal status in Italy. The prosecution released parts of recorded telephone conversations in which the mayor said he will oppose regulations he deemed to be stupid.
In one such conversation, Lucano told a foreign national that he will issue her with a local identity card and certify that she has lodging and a job there, although none of this was true. “I am going to take responsibility for this and say that everything is in order.”
In another conversation he told a Nigerian woman that her only chance to gain legal status in Italy was a pretend marriage and that he would perform the ceremony himself.
Riace, with an indigenous population of 1,500 is now also home to some 500 migrants from more than 20 countries.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini said in August he will pay special attention to cases such as that of Lucano: “I have been and I will go back to (the Calabria region) to visit all those mayors who work for the Italian people, not for the immigration business.”