Thursday, March 29, 2012

Deja Vu: Greek Immigration Crackdown

Last year I wrote about Greece and the pressure they are facing to get their immigration system to conform with international standards, while dealing with a giant backlog of asylum cases and daily influx of new immigrants. I noted at the time that the current system was at the same time too slow and too cursory to be able to properly consider asylum claims, and that a large new grant from Norway might help them attempt to reform this system.

Evidently, they've taken a different tact.
Police in the Greek capital said they have detained 501 people in an operation they say will be repeated "on a daily basis" to combat illicit trade, illegal immigration, drug dealing and other criminal activities.
The majority of those detained were foreign nationals in a sweep of central Athens.
 As was noted previously, hundreds of asylum seekers in Athens sit in legal limbo waiting for their applications to be processed, some having waited 10 years or more. More than likely, some of these individuals have been caught up in the mass arrests and detained. 

This may be a popular activity among anti-immigrant crowds, who think all crime derives from foreigners, but it doesn't do anything to solve the essential issues: a huge back-log, arbitrary procedures, and wrongful detention.  Not to mention its hugely expensive and engages tons of government employees who could be, just to pick an example at random, going through asylum claims or granting residence permits to those entitled to one.

There are different ways of getting people off the street than throwing them in jail.

500 Detained in Athens Crackdown

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