Friday, March 12, 2010

Challenges of a second generation immigrant (Italy)

Queenia Pereira de Oliveira: "We live in a permanent state of uncertainty"

To be a second generation immigrant in Italy is a big challenge in deed. However much one feels to be Italian, before officially obtaining Italian citizenship, one is required to have the Permit of Stay in order to live legally in the country, says Ms. Queenia Pereira de Oliveira.

Queenia was born on 7th August 1986 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her mother is a Brazilian while her father is a Nigerian.

She has spent most of her life in Italy. Queenia is worried of the fact that the country’s citizenship law doesn’t guarantee the right to naturalization of immigrant children who have grown up in the country. These children who are Italians in all aspects, are forced to have the Permit of Stay in order live in the country, and are usually issued permits which are valid for short periods. This makes them live in a permanent state of uncertainty.

Queenia, who is a poet, has in fact written a poem titled “Awareness” dedicated to all the second generation immigrants in Italy. The poem is a true picture of the suffering of these children who consider themselves Italians but who unfortunately are considered foreigners by the Italian law.

Queenia has been living in Italy since she was five years old, but has not yet obtained Italian citizenship. Asked why she has not yet become Italian, she says: “It is only because of an unjust law, that is, the Law 91 of 1992 which doesn’t recognize the fact that the population of the second generation of immigrants either born or grown up in Italy, is growing rapidly in the country.”

She says that many second generation immigrants, herself included, are living this situation of precarious rights linked to the Permit of Stay.

Queenia is pursuing a Degree course in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Rome, La Sapienza.

Talking about her identity, Queenia says: “I feel I’m a combination of different identities. I think the work of indentifying a second generation immigrant is quite complex. I can now only tell you that I surely feel I’m Italian, but at the same time I’m also a Nigerian and a Brazilian. Let me say that nothing excludes the other.”

Read full story on Africa News

The Italian blog for second generation Italians: Rete G2 – Seconde Generazioni


  1. This is the issue that affected most of my friends, they had to work or have the support of their parents to be able to obtain their rights as Italian citizens. This law needs to change, the second generation has to get their rights from birth.

  2. That's crazy, where is she supposed to go if she does not get the permit? Italy is her home and she would have to chose between two different continents. This is discriminatory surely, I wonder what the EU policy is on this.


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