Rome, January 8 - Abolishing the crime of illegal immigration would be "an error" in current circumstances, the Lower House whip for the centre-right Area Popolare caucus Maurizio Lupi said Friday. "If anyone enters Italy and is not a genuine refugee, they must be sent back," Lupi said in reference to an impending decree by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi to depenalise illegal immigration. "On the one hand we must continue to welcome genuine asylum seekers, but on the other hand we must send out a strong signal," he warned. "After what happened in Germany, in light of what's happening across Europe, we must send a signal that Italy is going in a different direction." Area Popolare is mainly composed of the New Centre Right (NCD) party, the junior partner in Renzi's right-left government.