Newsletter on Immigration to Greece
Editor: Ioannis Kolovos
Almost one out of five births in Greece is by a non-Greek mother
According to National Statistics Service data, 18.29% of births that took place in Greece in 2007 were by mothers of non-Greek citizenship. The same percentage in 2004 was 15.95%, thus there was an increase of 21.48%.
Greece struggles to cope as immigration tensions soar
The Observer’s view of Greece’s immigration issue
Ex-Secret Services Head: the population of immigrants in Greece reaches 1.8 million
Ambassador Ioannis Korandis, who until recently headed Greece’s Secret Services, estimates that there are about 1.8 million immigrants in the country, of whom only 600,000 have participated in the successive regularization efforts. This means that immigrants constitute about 15-18% of Greece’s population and that 1.2 million people live here completely undocumented. Ambassador Korandis’ estimate severely contradicts estimates by the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute and by ELIAMEP which claim that the number of illegal immigrants in the country is only about 250,000 people.
Greek Armed Forces: One million illegal immigrants have entered Greece through Turkey in the last decade
The Chief of Greece’s Armed Forces General Staff Lieutenant General Yiannis Yangos informed NATO Forces Chief Commander in Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis that the Greek Armed Forces have arrested 961,718 illegal immigrants entering Greece from Turkey from 2000 until 2009.
Another RIEAS success: the Robert Divine lecture
The Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy in Athens and the Research Institute for European and American Studies organized a lecture on: “Strengths and Weaknesses of the U.S. Immigration System”. The lecture was given by Robert C. Divine, Chairman of the Immigration Group of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz, on September 30, 2009, at the Deree College Downtown Auditorium in Athens. Mr. Divine’s lecture was quite informative as he did not dwell on theoretical or academic aspects of the issue but presented the practical outcomes, the pros and cons of different policies that have been applied in the US.
Almost 40,000 illegal immigrants and asylum seekers were fingerprinted in Greece in 2008
Greece fingerprinted 39.085 illegal immigrants and asylum seekers in 2008 and sent their fingerprints to Eurodac (EU’s relevant service). This amounts to 11% of those fingerprinted in the whole of the EU in the same year.
Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist group based in Greece?
According to a report by the Italian “Corriere della Sera” the Lebanese extremist islamist group Fatah Al Islam have gained a foothold in Greece where they set-up a “logistics” base. The members of the Al-Qaeda-inspired group have entered Greece using fake documents and their aim is to unleash a string of terrorist attacks in Greece and other European countries. Their targets are: air transport, government buildings and places of great symbolic value.
Police to release 1,200 illegal immigrants
New Minister for Citizen Protection (formerly known as Ministry of Public Order) Mr Michalis Chryssochoidis announced that the police are considering the release from prison of about 1,200 people who have only been charged with illegal entry in Greece. They will be fingerprinted and then, with the help of NGOs, will be voluntarily repatriated within a month from their release.
The fact that the new head of the Ministry is attempting to increase the number of repatriations is quite positive. Still, it seems that the project is not flawless: Is illegal entry a punishable offence or not? How can the Ministry be sure that, once released from prison, these people will turn up for their repatriation and not try to remain in the country? It will be interesting to see whether this project is actualized and whether it is successful!
New Government hastily showers immigrants with “rights”
New Minister of Interior Mr Yiannis Ragoussis offers voting rights in local elections to immigrants and citizenship both to immigrant children born in Greece and to immigrant children who have attended school in Greece. Hasn’t he heard of Ireland’s birthright citizenship troubles?
A two-edged sword: Immigrants to be hired by the Police
New Minister for Citizen Protection Mr Michalis Chryssochoidis announced his intention to hire immigrants who will work in police departments in areas with high concentration of foreigners. These immigrants will be civilian personnel and will operate as translators and go-betweens for the Police and the immigrant communities. This measure will be initially applied to the Agios Panteleimon police department and is expected to be spread to a total of 20 police departments. Moreover, the Ministry is said to be in favor of the full inclusion of 2nd-generation immigrants to the police.