The article focuses on the role of the Schengen Agreements in the origins of the Turco-Napolitano Law. It shows that the Italian Government’s willingness to join the Schengen Area was an important factor in prompting and shaping reforms of national immigration legislation between the mid- and late 1990s. In order to be admitted into the Schengen Area, Italy needed to convince its partners, especially Germany and the Netherlands, that it was able to effectively control external borders and expel irregular migrants. The Turco-Napolitano Law was thus expected to reassure Schengen countries in addition to domestic public opinion. The article also argues that the Government in Rome used Schengen for speeding up the decision-making process and persuading radical pro-immigration groups and parties to accept restrictive measures. The leftist components of the Government’s majority were reluctant to tighten immigration policies. Schengen thus served as an external constraint to breach their resistance and modernize national norms and procedures.
Keywords: Schengen; External Frontiers; Germany; Immigration Control Policies; Turco-Napolitano Law.