The year 2000 may have marked the modernization of integration
politics in Italy, but immigration has been central to Italian politics
while integration, a secondary component of general immigration
politics, has received significantly less political and academic attention.
Scholars of racial and ethnic integration in Europe have documented
Italy’s fragmented integration model, as being characterized
by: social programs designed to help people; the separation of public
and voluntary sectors; a paternalistic voluntary sector allowing
little space for immigrant self-representation; a lack of continuity;
and difficulties in obtaining citizenship. Until 2000, immigration
politics focused not on qualitative issues regarding the transformation
of Italian society, but on quantitative questions concerning
Italy’s social and economic capacity to absorb migrants.