Curious about this documentary titled 18 IUS SOLI by Afro-Italian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu (above with Spike Lee) which, as the Afro-Europe blog notes, “examines the law that denies citizenship to young people born in Italy of immigrant parents, because they have no Italian blood.”
It follows 18 stories of girls and boys born and raised in Italy whose parents are originally from African, Asian, and South American countries who moved to and have long-lived in different areas of Italy. They are children of immigrants: go to school in Italy, speak the language and dialects, have never even been to the countries that their parents are from, nor do they speak their parents’ language. Yet they are not recognized Italian citizens.
To obtain the Italian citizenship, they have to go through a lengthy and complicated application process and can only do so after they’ve turned 18 years old – a process that doesn’t always end positively for the applicant, resulting in serious and unavoidable problems of social inclusion and identity.
In addition to their stories, the filmmaker interviewed Italian politicians and sociologists for their input on the matter.
The film was entirely a grassroots effort produced in Italy, with the end goald being to use it as a platform to create a social awareness campaign aimed to change these laws.
“Ius soli” or “Jus Soli” as the Afro Europe blog notes translates as (the right of soil) and refers to the Latin term for birthright citizenship.
It’s the right to citizenship determined by the place of birth (such as in France or the US). In contrast there is the Ius Sanguinis (the right of blood), applied in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe, that only gives you the right to citizenship if you can proove that one or both of your parents or grand-parents were/are citizens or members of that nation. If not, even if you were born and raised in Italy, you have no right to be an Italian citizen. But many Italo-Americans or Italo-Argentians who have never been in Italy and doesn’t speak Italian has the right to apply for an Italian passport.
And if you didn’t already know, in the USA, if you’re born here, you’re automatically a citizen, regardless of whether your parents are citizens of this country of nor. Naturally, there are some who would love to see that law changed I’m sure.
Watch the trailer below: