Proposed by Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, the bill won the vote with 163 senators for, 59 against and 19 abstentions, including five Five Star Movement (M5S) members opposed to the tough decree.
The lower house of parliament has until the end of November to approve the decree, which bolsters immigration regulations, restricts the right to asylum, and tightens anti-terrorism and anti-mafia rules.
The decree should pass the lower house due to the coalition’s majority.
“This is a historic day,” Salvini said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Italian Refugee Council said it was “seriously concerned” about the bill being passed.
“The abolition of humanitarian protection will put thousands of people outside the law and only a very few can be repatriated,” the council said in a statement.
The United Nations refugee agency also expressed concern ahead of the vote that some of the bill’s provisions “do not provide adequate guarantees, especially for the vulnerable or those with particular needs such as victims of abuse or torture”.
The decree states that migrants could be deported if they are found guilty of serious crimes such as rape, assault and drug dealing.
Previously, this was only possible at the end of a lengthy appeals process.
The controversial document also allows for the extension of the time migrants can be detained in repatriation centres from three to six months and lays out stricter rules for obtaining citizenship.