The article posted below was brought to my attention in the comments on the previous post. Almost 600 people are on hunger strike at a detention centre in Samos over the recent clampdown on immigrants. Hundreds are being transported from the cities to these remote places before deportation.
The article also talks about the problems facing documented migrants too. According to the law, an immigrant family who wishes to stay in Greece now must prove that the breadwinner earns 20% more per year than an unskilled worker. An almost impossible task for most immigrant families and utterly unfair. If a family who has been living here legally can show that it is supporting itself on whatever little money is earned and is paying taxes, what business does the government have to say that they cannot stay ? That they should be earning more than many Greek families in order to have the right to live here ?
The government has made up its mind to rid the country of the majority of immigrants and is doing everything it can to achieve that goal. It is doing this by illegally evicting people, rounding up undocumented people and forcing them into remote detention centres ready for deportation, denying asylum to 99% of people applying and taking away the right to appeal, bringing in unfair harsh new laws that put even documented people in danger of expulsion.
I was chatting with a fellow blogger online the other day. We were talking about the depressing nature of these recent developments in Greece and wondering about our own futures (relating to these issues and other personal dilemmas). He felt that it is important that we are here and are able to report on this dangerous escalation of anti-immigrant sentiment. I have to agree with him. It seems to me that this is the only positive way to look at the situation. Keep talking about it. Reporting it. Getting the word out. Because the people that are caught up in this nightmare for real have no voice at all. They are just numbers. 600 here on hunger strike, hundreds arrested and shipped off to detention centres, who knows how many somewhere else awaiting deportation, thousands of others worrying about their families future and whether they will be allowed to live here legally.
It’s deeply depressing and frustrating. The very least we can do is to keep this situation in the public domain. I don’t know how much bloggers can do but it’s something, even though it’s minor. Expect many more posts on this current situation for the foreseeable future. If you have your own blog or social network, please help to spread the word.
Migrant woes mounting
Almost 600 Samos immigrants go on hunger strike over transfers, expulsions
The recent government policy of moving illegal immigrants to reception centers in northern Greece before expelling them from the country ran into more trouble yesterday, as 580 migrants being held on Samos went on hunger strike to protest the measure.
The migrants’ complaints were prompted by an attempt by authorities to remove 26 illegal immigrants from the island on Tuesday so that they could be transferred to another center in northern Greece.
Authorities have recently attempted to crack down on illegal immigration by stepping up the number of expulsions, while also taking into custody migrants squatting or renting accommodation in run-down buildings in Athens.
The practice of transferring migrants to northern Greece has, in recent weeks, met with the opposition of human rights campaigners who have attempted to prevent the operations from taking place.
Yesterday’s protest came as sources revealed to Kathimerini that one in three applications made this year to remain here by the families of migrants living legally in Greece will be rejected.
Sources said that some 9,000 applications had been made but that in some 3,000 cases, the requests would be turned down because the migrant who is the main breadwinner in the family was not earning enough money.
According to Greek law, for a migrant’s family to be allowed to remain in Greece, the head of the family must declare an income that is 20 percent more than that of an unskilled laborer, which amounts to 10,200 euros per year before taxes.
Campaigners for migrants’ rights have expressed concern that since, given the current economic conditions, many immigrants’ incomes do not reach this level, their wives and children will be deemed to be living here illegally.
The Interior Ministry said that migrants can appeal any decision to deport their families and instead of a residence permit will be issued with a document confirming their legal status (“veveosi”) that will then be renewed every six months until their case is heard.