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Police campaigns against illegal immigrants

29 March 2012 / 14:03:29  GRReporter
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The Greek police have launched a campaign to apprehend immigrants having no permission to enter and stay in the country. From next Monday, a thousand young officers will join the special fast response units of DIAS.

The decision to launch the campaign of arresting illegal immigrants was taken during a meeting between the Ministry of Citizen Protect and the police. As it became clear, the campaigns will not be similar to the "cleaning" actions held in the past. They will be concentrated in areas with houses the owners of which have rented them to illegal immigrants. Dozens of them are living in each room of the apartments under extremely poor conditions and the owners are earning huge sums. The actions will be held in the morning and in the afternoon and will involve officers from different departments.
Because the detention centres for illegal immigrants are not yet functioning, those captured will be taken to police custody. During a check held yesterday in the area of ​​the Law School and the University of Economics, 29 immigrants were arrested, mostly for illegal trade. A foreigner offering for rent apartments at very low prices was captured during a check in Marni Street.

More than 600 police officers will be involved in the campaigns. 450 of them are from different departments and 150 are members of the riot forces. First, 687 police officers who will leave the police school on Saturday will join the DIAS forces. On Monday, the number of recruits will reach a thousand due to the transfer of police officers from other police units and departments.

The first detention centre for illegal immigrants will be operational within a month and forty-five days, said Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Manolis Otonas. "The works on adapting the ready premises in the detention centres for illegal immigrants will be taken by the Ministry of Citizen Protection." He added that police will guard all centres and each of them will create 1000 jobs.

The governor of Attica Yiannis Sgouros said the problem lies in the fact that illegal immigrants continue to enter Greece. He said they should not be scattered throughout the country for years.

In an outburst of hatred toward immigrants and regarding the government notices, the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn required the deployment of special forces and mines along the border with Turkey in Evros. These, they argue, are more appropriate measures to combat illegal immigration than the construction of detention centres for immigrants. In its press release, filled with extreme-right positions, the authors go so far as to suggest, "to challenge the agreement of Ottawa and place mines on the territory of Greece again." Another proposal of theirs is "immediate measures to safeguard the land border in Evros and deployment of special units of the Greek army in the region."

Golden Dawn insists on the immediate extradition of all illegal immigrants because "there is no reception centre able to even slightly reduce the problem." The extreme nationalists declared themselves in favour of "urgent and radical changes, such as defining as an extreme any crime committed by illegal immigrants." Penalties should not be served in prison, but in specialized detention facilities, where they would work for the state." They call for "a special plan of police campaigns to capture and extradite all foreigners who have entered the country illegally."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Citizens Protection insists that the main reason for accelerating the establishment of centres is the risk for Greece to leave the Schengen area. Despite the fact that the country is actually in a pre-election period, the Ministry insists on implementing the decision, which provides for the establishment of three centres in each administrative district in the mainland.

"We will be evaluated and in a rigorous manner in order to stay in the Schengen area. These centres are contained in the plan that we proposed in 2009. Their establishment is urgent," said ministry sources.

Local communities, however, continue to disagree with the establishment of centres within their municipalities. Yesterday, Attica Regional Council adopted a decision for the establishment of three centres on condition that they "will observe security requirements and there will be no violations of human dignity." The Mayor of Megara responded immediately. In a letter to the governor, he announced the complete disagreement of municipal authorities to allow the construction of such a centre in the municipality, regardless of compensation measures. Such were the reactions of the municipalities in Elevsina, Mandra and Aspropyrgos. According to sources, a month ago, representatives of the Ministry of Citizen protection went to view the former NATO premises in the region of Megara to assess whether they are suitable for the establishment of a centre for immigrants.

Observing the current legislation, after their capture at the border, illegal immigrants are taken to reception centres where they can stay for a maximum of three months. During this time, Greek authorities with the cooperation of foreign embassies are seeking to establish their identity with the help of photographs and fingerprints. After these three months expire, the immigrants are given one month to leave the country.

In most of the cases, however, the immigrants submit false data to the authorities, their nationality cannot be established and thus, the process of extradition is frustrated.

Left wing parties oppose the establishment of centres too. According to them, Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis is about to establish "concentration camps".


Tags: PoliticsSocietyIllegal immigrantsPolice campaignsDetention centresMunicipalities' responses
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