Italy's right-wing populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, on Tuesday, has prompted a new outcry by saying he wants a census of the Roma community that would lead to non-Italians being deported.
After a chorus of criticism he said his only aim was to protect Roma children.
Since Mr Salvini's League party came to power this month with the anti-establishment Five Star movement, he has focused heavily on immigration.
Last week he refused to allow a charity ship carrying 629 migrants into Italy, according to BBC.
Mr Salvini has tried to limit the number of migrants entering Italy by blocking charity ships that rescue people off the Libyan coast.
The Aquarius eventually arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia at the weekend.
His remarks on Roma (Gypsies) were eventually rebutted by his fellow deputy prime minister and leader of Five Star, Luigi di Maio, who made clear that a census was unconstitutional.
The interior minister told a local TV channel he had asked officials to "prepare a dossier on the Roma question in Italy at the ministry because nothing has been done since [ex-minister Roberto] Maroni and it's chaos".
There would be a survey to see "who [they are], how [they live] and how many of them there are, re-doing what was called the census". "We'll have a register," he said.
Those Roma who had no right to stay in Italy would be deported but "as for the Italian Roma, unfortunately you have to keep them at home".
Italy's new populist government has as part of its programme a plan to deport 500,000 migrants.
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