The presentation aims to illustrate a salient aspect of the question of immigration in advanced societies: the relationship between irregular migration and informal dimension of welfare systems. The argument is that irregular immigration, although politically stigmatized and officially condemned by public opinion, in fact it is widely employed and tolerated, especially in Southern Europe and US, but not only. This is especially common in families that have to deal with multiple tasks of care with insufficient public support and falling internal resources: care work living-in with the elderly is emerging in last years as the main driver of irregular immigration. Latino American women, coming mainly from Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, are deeply involved in this sector in Italy. The paper, based on two research studies carried on in last years in two Italian regions, Lombardy and Liguria, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, will present: 1) practices and resources of undocumented Latino immigrants women working in Italian families; 2) the paths they take to gain the status of regular residents; 3) the relationships with families left behind. A vision of irregular immigrants as social actors, able to articulate projects and strategies, is confronted with the ambiguities of immigration policies and receiving society. In spite of political rejection of irregular immigration, when it comes to immigrant women engaged in care work, the unwritten rule is almost that of a generalised tolerance. One could say that they are not treated politically, nor perceived socially as undocumented migrants. The windows of opportunity opened up by amnesties or regularisations represent the other side of the coin of the limited effectiveness of deterrence: the strategy of irregular immigrants is to evade controls, wait patiently for a favourable opportunity, and finally take advantage of the right moment to regularise. Italian regularisations (7 in 25 years) have mainly favoured care workers and the domestic sector; the last but one, in 2009, with about 300,000 applications, was reserved exclusively to them, in explicit and official terms. Latino immigrant women employed as care workers are a case in point of this tension between political closure and practical tolerance of “useful” forms of irregular immigration.

Latin American Women and Italian Families: agency beyond structural constraints and expoloitation / M. Ambrosini - In: Shaping migration between Europe and Latin America: new perspectives and challenges / [a cura di] A. Margheritis. - Prima edizione. - London : Institute of Latin American Studies, 2018. - ISBN 9781908857453. - pp. 137-159

Latin American Women and Italian Families: agency beyond structural constraints and expoloitation

M. Ambrosini
2018

Abstract

The presentation aims to illustrate a salient aspect of the question of immigration in advanced societies: the relationship between irregular migration and informal dimension of welfare systems. The argument is that irregular immigration, although politically stigmatized and officially condemned by public opinion, in fact it is widely employed and tolerated, especially in Southern Europe and US, but not only. This is especially common in families that have to deal with multiple tasks of care with insufficient public support and falling internal resources: care work living-in with the elderly is emerging in last years as the main driver of irregular immigration. Latino American women, coming mainly from Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, are deeply involved in this sector in Italy. The paper, based on two research studies carried on in last years in two Italian regions, Lombardy and Liguria, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, will present: 1) practices and resources of undocumented Latino immigrants women working in Italian families; 2) the paths they take to gain the status of regular residents; 3) the relationships with families left behind. A vision of irregular immigrants as social actors, able to articulate projects and strategies, is confronted with the ambiguities of immigration policies and receiving society. In spite of political rejection of irregular immigration, when it comes to immigrant women engaged in care work, the unwritten rule is almost that of a generalised tolerance. One could say that they are not treated politically, nor perceived socially as undocumented migrants. The windows of opportunity opened up by amnesties or regularisations represent the other side of the coin of the limited effectiveness of deterrence: the strategy of irregular immigrants is to evade controls, wait patiently for a favourable opportunity, and finally take advantage of the right moment to regularise. Italian regularisations (7 in 25 years) have mainly favoured care workers and the domestic sector; the last but one, in 2009, with about 300,000 applications, was reserved exclusively to them, in explicit and official terms. Latino immigrant women employed as care workers are a case in point of this tension between political closure and practical tolerance of “useful” forms of irregular immigration.
Immmigrant women; irregular immigrants; Latin-American; care work; Italy; agency
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
Settore SPS/10 - Sociologia dell'Ambiente e del Territorio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/602495
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