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Greece has stopped legalizing immigrants since 2007

05 April 2012 / 20:04:04  GRReporter
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Miltos Pavlou refuted the widespread opinion that the decline of downtown Athens is due to immigrants. "The truth is that the decline had already started before the arrival of immigrants. It was quite natural for those who have no papers to go to an already abandoned and neglected place." He noted that the centre has actually been taken over by organized criminal groups engaged in trafficking of drugs and women. Its other "lords" have become far-right extremist groups. "Greek citizens make money illegally by renting apartments, where there are dozens of illegal immigrants, living in very poor conditions. For apartments, whose rent under normal conditions would not exceed the amount of 200 euro, they take more than 1800 euro - for example, they get 3 euro per day from five occupants of a room." According to the Institute, protecting the immigrants from exploitation and crime is a prerequisite for improving the living conditions for everyone in downtown Athens.

Among the proposals of the Institute are immediate registration of immigrants from all categories and urgent examination of the applications for refugee status or protection of certain groups. "They are refugees, families, women, victims of human trafficking, pregnant women, children, sick, elderly and other people for whom it is necessary to establish detention centres."

Another proposal is to recognize and secure permission to stay for all immigrants who are actually working. "Today, the police just catch these people intending to extradite them. Then, they release them ordering them to leave the country, which is often impossible. So, the majority of them go back to work without insurances and for a very low pay from the Greek employers - exploiters."

The third measure is allegedly strengthening the police presence in the centre and the institution of criminal persecution against groups such as Golden Dawn, which for years have been attacking, beating and spreading racial hatred and fear among people.

"The establishment of public bodies in the centre of Athens to house public and social services, and taking other actions to transform the centre will help in conjunction with other measures to fully change the situation," said Miltos Pavlou.

The Institute, however, pointed out that before asking its European partners to equally share the burden and eliminate Dublin 2, Greece will have to assume its full responsibility and liability for human support and protection of immigrants as the first host country.

Tags: SocietyImmigrantsPolitical assylumLaw on Greek citizenshipDetention centres for immigrants
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