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In this paper we highlight some key features of the local incorporation processes of the Pakistani immigrant population in Central Brianza, a highly industrialized territory in Northern Italy. Data show that also small-scale context can qualify as relevant “micropolitan” gateway cities in which migrants incorporate through both ethnic and non-ethnic pathways. These are shaped by the local political culture – a widespread anti-immigrant and xenophobic stance embodied by the Northern League and an active Catholic third sector – leading to the emergence of several grassroots initiatives on behalf of a population whose needs are often denied and disregarded by local administrations. These dynamics are also favoured by the limited number of actors on the local scene, their easy connection with political actors, and their embeddedness in the local socio-economic structure.