Keywords: Immigration Policy, Social Workers, Discretionary Power, Vignettes.
Based on a field research conducted with the use of vignettes in 10 Italian cities, this articles examines the role played by street-level social workers in steering Italian immigration policies. In the frame of a weak national regulation, local practices can be quite different: though usually matched with a pro-immigrant attitude, effectiveness and equality of treatment suffers for serious hindrances. Main limitations come from a faint regulation and an unequal structuring of local networks and expertise: not rarely, national regulations are disregarded due to questionable and conflicting relationships with international law and social workers' value; as a consequence actual practices are based on available resources in local solidarity networks. Though, this is not enough to achieve a sound national immigration policy.