Monday's HOT MIC

Monday's HOT MIC

Good for the Italians. Forza, Italia!

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has said conditions are not right to push through a bill giving citizenship to the children of immigrants. The law would make some 800,000 people citizens and has already taken years to reach the upper house, or Senate.

Right-wing parties hailed the prime minister's delay but migrant groups said they were bitterly disappointed. Meanwhile Luxembourg has warned that EU funds may be helping to drive migrants into Libyan "concentration camps".

Responding to an Italian plea for help, the EU has been helping to train Libyan coastguards. Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said "we have financed these coastguards and it's right", but migrants were being rescued in Libyan territorial waters and "can only be taken back to Libya, but back to these camps we've seen pictures of. "Those are sometimes concentration camps, camps where people are raped, where there is no law."

More than 88,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy so far this year, and more than a quarter of them arrived in June alone.

Even in the United States, where until recently most people simply accepted the notion that babies born in the U.S. were automatically entitled to American citizenship, the notion of "birthright citizenship" needs serious re-examination. One anomaly: we accept babies of illegal aliens as citizens, but not the children of duly constituted foreign diplomats. What sense that does make?

In any case, "birthright citizenship" certainly needs no adoption or acceptance in Europe, where your nationality is not simply decided by your passport, but by who you are: your family history, your ethnicity, your cultural background, etc.

Italians are Italians because they're Italians -- not because they hold passports from Italy.