The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Threat of Deportation

UPDATE: Teacher Dude has more on the demonstrations against the new laws.

[Teacher Dude’s photograph used with permission]

I am posting an article on how incompetent government, non-existent immigration policies and the rise of the far-right has lead to the current harsh new immigration laws being introduced in Greece. We will be seeing the introduction of internment camps where undocumented people can be held for up to a year before being deported. It is unclear what legal access they will have to process claims of asylum or applications for residency. Given the past performance of the Greek government, they will probably have very little, if any, representation.

This new law does not only affect undocumented people. All foreigners are at risk. We can be

deported without trial, simply by being charged with any crime that carries a jail sentence of three months or more.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this will lead. We will be seeing foreigners of any status being falsely charged with crimes carrying this length of jail time. And please don’t come back to me and say I am exaggerating. We ALL know what happens in Greece. Me, the love of my life, many of my friends and even the kid, when he reaches 18, will all be living with that threat of deportation.

Does anyone know if Greece is the ONLY EU country with these harsh laws and is the part about deporting any foreigner accused of a crime (with 3 month sentence) legal within the European Union ?

From Athens Plus

Greece’s policy regarding illegal immigrants used to be very successful: People caught trying to sneak into the country were either forced back across the border or were abandoned to their fate, in the knowledge that the migrants would do all in their power to keep moving on toward more welcoming members of the European Union. Of the hundreds of thousands of people from places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, a small minority chose to seek their fortune in Greece – a country that provided no benefits but did offer more work than what these (mostly) unskilled young men could find at home. In the last couple of years, however, things have become more difficult for those trying to get to more western or northern EU countries, leading to a large concentration of illegal immigrants in some Greek cities, especially Athens and Patras. With minimal – if any – social services to rely on, the migrants formed their own support networks and gravitated toward areas where others of their kind had found lodging – whether in residential neighborhoods or shanties on vacant lots. As time passed and their numbers grew, the new arrivals became a problem for local residents, prompting calls for “something to be done.”

The pressure hit the Greek government in last month’s elections for the European Parliament, when the populist, anti-immigrant Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), was the only party to gain votes – mostly at the ruling New Democracy party’s expense. At their recent summit, the EU leaders finally appeared to heed the cries of Greece, Italy, Malta and Cyprus, all in the frontline of illegal migration, and expressed “great concern at the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean area.” Among the measures Commissioner for Justice Jacques Barrot is preparing: permitting people to seek asylum in countries other than the ones of first entry, establishing new rules for reception procedures, reuniting minors with their families in other EU countries and setting up an EU office to support asylum seekers. Barrot, who was in Greece the past week, adopted a carrot-and-stick approach, demanding that Greece create a public administration capable of dealing with asylum applications, while also promising to press Turkey to take back migrants who entered Greece from its territory. Ankara refuses to honor a protocol signed with Athens in 2001, saying it does not want to become a dumping ground for unwanted migrants. Greece now says it will help push for repatriation agreements with Afghanistan and Pakistan, so that migrants can go home without staying in Turkey.

Barrot’s proposals aim at bridging the gap between the southern countries that bear the brunt of immigration and the more welcoming countries of Northern and Western Europe, which criticize their southern partners but would like to avoid getting involved in the problem. The problem of illegal immigration is a problem for all Europe, not just the countries that stand on the EU’s porous borders. But it is one thing to need support because a problem is too big for one country and another to force your partners to take over a large part of your duties because of your own incompetence.

The lack of a comprehensive policy over many years and the breathtaking incompetence of state employees charged with dealing with immigrants weigh on the government. The European Union has been forced to both warn Athens of serious consequences if it does not get its act together and to take over a large part of its responsibilities. Instead of this pushing Greece to formulate a serious policy, the government has brushed aside domestic criticism and passed a law that could lead to immigrants – both legal and illegal – being deported without trial, simply by being charged with any crime that carries a jail sentence of three months or more. We can only wonder if this madness is aimed simply at a domestic audience or whether its purpose is the abdication of even more of our responsibilities.

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24 Comments

  1. July 8, 2009    

    Many countries have problems with illegal migrants not just Greece. What will the world do? Open all borders to all who want to come and support them? The social services of most countries are so broke they are overwhelmed. Here we deport criminals after they have served their sentence but some find a way back in and commit more crimes. I think a person should be deported once convicted of a crime. There doesn’t seem to be a really good solution does there. As long as countries don’t have unlimited funds to spend and their own citizens are suffering. Greece for instance doesn’t even have money to properly stock hospitals. My MIL had her heart monitor removed because it was needed for another patient. Guess what, she died when her heart stopped and no one knew. We were told that there is a real shortage of equipment. Money is the root of all evil…ciao

  2. Xenos
    July 8, 2009    

    DD: I don’t know what your source is, although I read it in English Kathimerini, but the Greek draft legal text I obtained does not have this provision for deportation of persons accused of crimes. Indeed, I would be very surprised if such a law could be passed, because the Oversight Committee of the Vouli is there to stop asshole politicians from passing laws that are serious breaches of international and EU law. This provision for deportation would clearly be illegal, and absolutely outrageous.

    I suspect that it is journalistic incompetence: if it is not, we need to read the law to see what it actually says and take it to the European Courts.

  3. Stassa
    July 8, 2009    

    That’s how I heard it too, that by the new law foreign people would be deported even if they were just accused of a crime. It’s been a couple of weeks so I don’t remember the source but the ‘net was abuzz.

    It could be journalistic error, though the alternative is not much better.

    Btw, where is Michael Scowcroft? He hasn’t posted for a week. Devious Diva, do you know if he’s OK? And I’m not joking one bit :(

  4. kat
    July 8, 2009    

    There was an article in the Greek news (in Greek, I believe) that two-thirds of all suspected illegal immigrants are actually legal, but are held nevertheless.

    Let’s face it, Greek authorities never need a real reason to arrest someone, police or otherwise. Some of my Greek friends have been rounded up in these sweeps and are treated exactly the same. Some even need to hire and pay a lawyer to get them out. So if Greece treats its own this way, what can we expect as a non-Greek, non-EU citizen? Not much.

  5. Xenos
    July 8, 2009    

    Well, the behaviour of the Greek police is clearly out of democratic control — and going rapidly in the direction of fascism. This is the policy of ND-LAOS and it’s up to Greek citizens to protest about it. However, that is very different from passing illegal legislation which is what the deportation without trial amounts to. I really don’t think they would dare… and Kathimerini prints a pile of rubbish half the time about immigration issues. They have a very high opinion of their own ability to understand things in that area — mainly because of one Greek American editor.

  6. Stassa
    July 9, 2009    

    Ah, no worries. Nick Griffin has the solution to Europe’s problems:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jul/09/nick-griffin-bnp

    the only measure, sooner or later, which is going to stop immigration and stop large numbers of sub-Saharan Africans dying on the way to get over here is to get very tough with those coming over. Frankly, they need to sink several of those boats.

    And just so you limp-wristed liberals don’t start your whinging, he makes it clear that:

    I didn’t say anyone should be murdered at sea – I say boats should be sunk, they can throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya,

    Way to go!

    Hey, I’m willing to go one step further. Why not drop all them illegals who’ve already landed back into the sea? With stones ’round their necks!

    …the stupid… it burns…

  7. July 9, 2009    

    The article above is from Athens Plus which I think has some link to Kathimerini but I also posted this from the Athens News which does mentions legal immigrants too

    “Under the first clause of this amendment, each and every immigrant – legal immigrants included – becomes a potential threat to public order. Even legal immigrants in our country, if they are convicted of a crime, even reckless driving, may find themselves without any protection and at risk of immediate deportation. As for the other articles [in the law]… they are without any logic. Make no mistake, the illegal immigration problem in Greece was created by our country’s inability to successfully negotiate at the EU level,” Pasok MP Evangelos Venizelos, speaking to parliament on June 23

    Can anyone find out what the actual clause is ? I’d appreciate it if you could post it here if you do. Thank you.

  8. July 9, 2009    

    I read about Griffin’s interview. Ugly little troll. Here’s a poster illustrating his comments.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/teacherdudebbq2/3703807581/

  9. July 9, 2009    

    I can’t believe anyone could even think these things, let alone say them openly ! Horrible. I only hope that those people who were foolish enough to vote for the BNP because they thought they had some respectability these days, will change their minds and realise they are still the racist thugs they always were. The only thing that changed in the BNP is that they all wear suits now.

  10. Travlos Konstantinos
    July 10, 2009    

    Italy is the key. If the harsh measures against immigration there fail, then they will not be copied. If they work, then I am afraid they will be copied.

  11. Xenos
    July 10, 2009    

    Even Italy obeys the Law of the Sea, other than one deviant incident in 1990. It is a criminal offence to fail to rescue a ship or its occupants which is in distress and has requested assistance. Actually to sink a ship would be not only a criminal offence but would probably lead to an international incident and the involvement of the UN Security Council.

    The observance of the Geneva Convention vis-a-vis accepting asylum applications is open to more debate, especially in the case of Spain, Italy and Greece.

  12. Oath Taken
    July 10, 2009    

    Diva I also doubt very much that anyone is proposing that simply being accused of a crime punishable by more than 3 months jail sentence could result in deportation. Beyond the obvious irrationality of being punished without proof of guilt, I do not think that there is a clear legal group of crimes that fall in the under 3 month prison service “group”. For the sake of the credibility of your blog I would suggest that you find the actual clause and properly correct your post.

    I can tell you what an immigrant country such as the USA does do to immigrants when they commit a crime:
    a) Undocumented (illegal) immigrants are deported if caught even if they have not committed a crime. If they have they serve their sentence and then they are deported unless there is some agreement with their country of origin that allows them to serve their sentence there.
    b) Legal immigrants may be deported (after serving their sentence) if the crime is serious enough; i.e. “legal” status is not permanent, even for green card holders, if through criminality one is seen as unworthy of the status. Moreover not all of the standard rights afforded to US citizens are necessarily extended to legal immigrants that commit serious crimes and they can be held in INS facilities pending deportation for very extended periods of time. The ACLU has tried to force (through court action) the INS to treat them as US citizens but so far as I know the courts have not been interpreting all rights enshrined in the US constitution as extending to non-citizens, even those residing legally in the USA. There was a case of a legal immigrant that after serving his sentence was left in INS custody for two years IFRC because his country would not have him back (who would want a criminal?). In the end after the ACLU sued successfully he was released not because deportation was deemed by the courts as unconstitutional or unjust but because such a very extended period of INS detention was deemed “cruel and unusual” punishment far exceeding that which fit his crime. But he is the exception.

    Given that – which holds in a country that unlike Greece has been dealing with immigration essentially from day 1 of its existence, I very much doubt that a measure that ensures deportation for immigrants that are convicted of serious crimes (and we can discuss what the threshold should be) is going to be seen as irrational or undemocratic by the average Greek citizen. In fact it would probably be seen as the rational defense of society against imported crime.

  13. Stassa
    July 11, 2009    

    I do not think that there is a clear legal group of crimes that fall in the under 3 month prison service “group”.

    According to this article, “3 months or more” is basically all the penal code.

  14. July 11, 2009    

    Diva I also doubt very much that anyone is proposing that simply being accused of a crime punishable by more than 3 months jail sentence could result in deportation. Beyond the obvious irrationality of being punished without proof of guilt, I do not think that there is a clear legal group of crimes that fall in the under 3 month prison service “group”. For the sake of the credibility of your blog I would suggest that you find the actual clause and properly correct your post.

    Just because you doubt it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen. I am simply posting articles that I have read to which I have included the link (as always).

    Mr Evangelos Venizelos (Pasok) seems to be under the impression that there is a serious problem with the law too.

    From the Athens News which I also posted with a link:

    “Under the first clause of this amendment, each and every immigrant – legal immigrants included – becomes a potential threat to public order. Even legal immigrants in our country, if they are convicted of a crime, even reckless driving, may find themselves without any protection and at risk of immediate deportation. As for the other articles [in the law]… they are without any logic. Make no mistake, the illegal immigration problem in Greece was created by our country’s inability to successfully negotiate at the EU level,” Pasok MP Evangelos Venizelos, speaking to parliament on June 23

    We all know that unfair laws are proposed all the time and it is up to everyone to question them when they arise. Who knows what things would get through if we’re all asleep or don’t bother to react because we “doubt” whether MPs would do something bad or wrong?

    I also don’t think that anything I do would convince of the credibility of my blog so I’m not going worry about that. If I find out what the actual clause is , I will post an update. I have always corrected my mistakes (if they were mine) in public. I have never been afraid of saying I was wrong.

  15. WallFly
    July 19, 2009    

    ““MINA” (an outfit that among other crap has claimed that Karamanlis is 1/3 – yes they believe people procreate in threesomes – “Macedonian” of their garden variety)”

    Care to explain what “MINA” is?

    Karamanlis has taken plenty of flak from the “oppressed peoples”; even the venerable Nikos Stoid–sorry Stoyanov is certain that K. is Bulgarian.

  16. Xenos
    July 19, 2009    

    Clearly, someone’s grasp of both arithmetic and genetics is rather limited, when one reads the mocking “has claimed that Karamanlis is 1/3 – yes they believe people procreate in threesomes…”.

    Obviously, nobody believes that reproduction occurs in threes and the ratio of 1/3 is produced from several difference branches of family history whose sum approximates to 1/3 of the total supposed genetic inheritance. I make no comment on the substance of the claim, only to point out some basic arithmetic.

  17. Oath Taken
    July 19, 2009    

    DD good news – neither you, nor the kid and (I always wrongly assumed he was Greek – why else choose Greece to move to?) the love of your life appear to be in danger of being deported for a traffic violation. Not to mention that even if the law meant exactly that it would be shot down in the Council of the State (????????? ???????????, the nearest thing Greece has to a Constitutional Court) and European Courts.

    Your reference to Venizelos intrigued me – he’s a professor of constitutional law (and pretty bad at it if you ask me seeing how he made a complete mess of the ex-king’s property story that lead to an ECHR decision against Greece) and a complaint from him, while political in nature, is more serious. So I did what you should have done (instead of relying on a small time newspaper) and first off checked Venizelos’ website where I found the entire part of the speech he gave to parliament – then I went to the parliament website to look at the whole discussion for this law (23-24/06/2009). In fact it appears that in the grand (and awful) Greek fashion of ammendments (???????????) the whole story was a sideline in another set of entirely unrelated laws being discussed. And other MPs from PASOK and KKE and SYRIZA objected along the same lines – which should have required some sort of response from the government. Well it did happen at the very end of the session on the 24th (page 604(27)) when the Minister for Justice commented on this very issue:

    ?????? ??????????, ???? ?????? ??? ??? ??????????? ??? ??-
    ????????? ?? ???? ???? ????????? ????? ??????? µ????? ??
    ????µ????? ? ????? ?????????? ??? ????????µ???? ??µ???-
    ??µ????, ??? ????? ?????, ????? ?? ??????, ???? ?????????µ?, ??
    ??µ????µ? ??? ? ????????µ??? ?????????? ????????? ?? ?????
    ??? ?????? ??µ? ??? ?????????? 3386/2005, ???? ????? ???-
    ??????? ???? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ??µ??????? ?? ???????µ? µ? ??
    ?.3386/2005, ??? ????? 2 ??? ?????? ???????? ?? ????? ????µ?-
    ???. ?? ?????, ??????, ????µ???? ????? ??? ??µ??, ?? ????? ??
    ????? 2, ??? ????? ???? µ???µ?? ?????????????? ??? ???? ??-
    ????????.
    ??? ???????, ????????µ???? ?????, ??? ???? ??? ??-
    ???????? ?’ «??? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?? ????µ??-
    ???? ???? ?????? µ? ????.. ?.??.» ??? ????????? ?, «???
    ??????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?? ????µ?????? ???? ?????? µ?
    ???? ??????????? µ????? ??????????, ??? ??????? ??? ?????
    ???????????? ?????????? ?.??.». ??????? ??? ?? ???? µ??
    ?????, ??? ?? ????? ?????????µ???, ????? ???? ? ?????????? ???
    ????? ??? ????? µ?? ??????????. ??? ??? ???? ???????? ???
    ?.3386/2005 ??? ????????? ????? ????????? ??????????? ???
    ???? µ???µ?? ??????????? ??? ????. ???? ?? ???? ??? ?????-
    ?????.

    I presume that after 15 years in Greece you can read the above but in any case the explanation is that the amendment cannot be read in isolation from the rest of the (pre-existing) law that it is attached to – and reading it as a whole it is clear that it cannot apply to people with legal residence in Greece or other related categories. This seems to have been a detail that everyone overlooked. It obviously still applies to illegal immigrants (that are anyway subject to deportation so I’m not sure what the point is there other than maybe a speedier deportation process) and it may apply (depending on the legal status of those very few people that have an accepted asylum application) to asylum seekers.

    The law is still problematic in my eyes when it comes to the presumption of innocence, as well as the required seriousness (AFAIK the dividing line between crimes (????????????) and misdemeanors (???????????) is the 5 year sentence point and even though the 3 month sentence point divides serious from less serious misdemeanors the practical situation is more confusing as to which are judged by a single judge and which by 3 judges). As to whether (once found guilty) other Western nations also deport immigrants (legal and illegal ones) I’ve already commented on what happens in an immigrant-built nation such as the USA.

    On a side-note regarding “sources” and mistakes. DD about your correcting your mistakes allow me to disagree. Just browsing your blog looking up past disputes we’ve had I found cases where I corrected facts of the original post (clearly) and you never did anything to fix them. Easiest one was the very first one about the meaning of “????????? ????? ??? ??? ???????” that prompted my handle here. Keep in mind that most readers of blogs do not have the stomach to wade through the comments sections to be informed.

    Regarding sources – you’ve used in the past such trash as “MINA” (an outfit that among other crap has claimed that Karamanlis is 1/3 – yes they believe people procreate in threesomes – “Macedonian” of their garden variety) so allow me to disagree with the logic of just attributing a source. Now, MINA it is not but “Athens News” is quite prone to mistakes (as seen in that very thread just mentioned on an oath that every Greek pretty much knows as that part of it is used as part of other oaths beyond the citizenship one). It may have to do with how long it takes them to pay their journalists (I should know – my cousin worked for that wretched newspaper). In this case they correctly quoted Venizelos but for some obscure reason ignored the clarification of the minister of justice! If looking for an english source at least e-kathimerini has more serious resources at its disposal (and no this is no plug – my cousin does not work there :-).

    Please take the above as maybe harsh but well meaning critique. I may disagree with you on several of the details of your human rights issues but I appreciate your good intentions.

  18. Michael Scowcroft
    July 19, 2009    

    Xenos,

    I make no comment on the substance of the claim, only to point out some basic arithmetic.

    Your arithmetic skills are truly amazing but how do they measure up to the ancient Greek mathematicians such as Pythagoras?

    Can YOU ever replicate his achievements? You consider that the modern greeks are failures because they haven’t emulated or replicated the achievements of ancient Greeks but you fall short of this very same standard. That must make you just as much a failure as modern Greeks? You stupid peasant 😉

  19. July 19, 2009    

    @Oath Taken
    I take the criticism in the spirit it was intended. Thank you. Just to respond… I said in that comment

    If I find out what the actual clause is , I will post an update. I have always corrected my mistakes (if they were mine) in public. I have never been afraid of saying I was wrong.

    and I asked for the actual clause. This was a quote from the Athens News which is no more or less reliable than Kathimerini in my opinion. Both are prone to mistakes and bad translations. The Athens News tends to be more liberal than Kathimerini but not always.

    Also, in the thread you mentioned… the post was posing questions about what homeland means. In general. Not an interpretation of the oath. I was referring to swearing an oath to my homeland if I had to do (as only immigrants do)it in England not here!

    As I said, I do post updates and corrections if they are mine. Granted I might have missed some and I apologise for that but I do try. I have even on several occasions promoted comments to the post that point out mistakes or update the post itself.

    I do try and find reliable sources and as far as possible check facts but this is sometimes difficult because of access. I am not a journalist and I am not privy to paid news services.

    This is not meant to be an excuse for my mistakes. as far as I am aware I have apologised for those. I just wanted to point out again than I am just a blogger not a journalist or specialist. Thank you for your comment. All constructive feedback and criticism is welcome here and the chance to respond is welcome too.

  20. Xenos
    July 19, 2009    

    Scowcroft: you need better medical treatment. We cannot help you here.

  21. Michael Scowcroft
    July 19, 2009    

    Xenos,

    Ancient Greek culture founded the western culture, with its modern traits of developing intellectual and scientific skills, a culture based on reasoning, investigation and experimentation. Ancient Greeks developed medicine, logics, aesthetics, metaphysics, mathematics and geometry, and this gave them a profound intellectual formation, allowed then to live more, made complex measurements that eased their trade and determined them to live in perfectly organized urban structures. The Greek civilization was made by man, for man and controlled by man. The integral formation of the individual was scientific, intellectual, artistic and sportive.
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/10-Things-You-Did-not-Know-About-Ancient-Greeks-78014.shtml

    Name me one modern European culture that can look back on such an illustrious ancient past as that^.

    Why are you demanding that modern Greeks live up to this extraordinary legacy and anything less is a failure of modern Greek culture? No-one could ever live up to that, you pathetic little troll. :)

  22. Oath Taken
    July 19, 2009    

    Xenos for a “social” statistician you’re truly cheeky. To get 1/3 to just 2 significant figures (and it still would be in fact 21/64 and any geneticist would rather talk in the natural units of procreation) one would need
    1/4+1/16+1/64, ie. one grandparent + one greatgrandparent (from another branch) + one great-great-greatgrandparent from a 3rd branch. Rather unlikely that anyone can trace the ethnicity of Karamanlis’ ancestry to such accuracy – but you just have to defend MINA – given that they share the same racist prejudices as you. They’re also very republican in their American politics, maybe you should consider emulating them in that.

    Dear “WallFly” since you know of Stoyannov you know what MINA means. No need to explain. BTW Stoyannov is as venerable as the local town (or blog) kook. And he was talking of K.’s uncle when he claimed him to be 100% Bulgarian.

  23. WallFly
    July 20, 2009    

    “Dear “WallFly” since you know of Stoyannov you know what MINA means. No need to explain.”

    But I don’t!

    “BTW Stoyannov is as venerable as the local town (or blog) kook.”

    I used it ironically. I had hoped it was obvious from the context and I find it pretty insulting that you thought(?) I could take BGM seriously and even appreciate it.

    “And he was talking of K.’s uncle when he claimed him to be 100% Bulgarian.”

    You’re correct, my memory completely failed me, but at least I hope (again) we can appreciated the assorted kookery… (and I seriously don’t know/remember what MINA is but I also couldn’t sit through BGM again, though it gets ‘humorous’ at times).

    Sorry for the off-topic but that pesky acronym still haunts me.

  24. WallFly
    July 20, 2009    

    Nevermind, I just got my answer so feel free to delete anything you find off-topic.

    Well, the “Macedonian International News Agency” isn’t the best source you could use for anything to be fair…

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