It’s been a tumultuous month for Domenico Lucano — the mayor of Riace in southern Italy — who has come under fire by the Italian government over illegal immigration allegations
Lucano, who was placed under house arrest, has been banished from Riace after he was accused of arranging “marriages of convenience” to skirt immigration regulations.
Prosecutors allege they wiretapped Lucano’s phone and recorded a conversation in which the mayor appeared to suggest marriage as a solution to a woman’s immigration issues.
The government, a coalition of the antiestablishment 5 Star Movement and the far-right League, rose to power this year and has taken a hard line in regard to migration enforcement.
Lucano, also known as Mimmo, made international headlines “when he welcomed migrants to the sparsely populated town in Calabria, giving them abandoned homes and on-the-job training, in the hope that the new arrivals would rejuvenate the economy,” according to BBC Italy.
The embattled mayor launched the program in 1998 under a former government, and brought scores of migrants to Riace, which has a population of about 2,000 people.
The program was viewed by many as a successful integration model, and Lucano was named one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine two years ago.