Greece Tries to “Shut a Back Door to Europe” and the “British open the door” and will let millions upon millions of immigrants into England without security or police checks, England already in a missives rescission just can’t afford any more immigrants and should follow Greece and shut our doors.
On a dark night a dozen young men hide in the shadows of the tiny train station waiting, though they have no money, to board a train for Athens
Some were from Morocco. Others from Algeria. All said they had flown into Istanbul only a few days before, taken a bus to the Greek-Turkish border and simply walked into Greece, crossing at night through fields planted with potatoes and garlic.
“A friend told me how to do it,” said Yousef Silimani, 23, who like the others was neatly, even fashionably dressed. He said it was really easy next we will be trying to get into your country England; we have been told we can get money and homes for nothing he said.”
For now it’s the borders between Greece and Turkey, including a 7.5-mile stretch just a few miles that has become the latest crossing point for immigrants seeking entry into the European Union. In 2009, police officials say, about 3,500 immigrants came over the nearby border. In 2010, more than 10 times that many around 36,000 arrived.
The wave of new immigrants hit so fast and so hard that Greek officials turned to the European Union’s border management agency, Frontex, for emergency aid in patrolling the border. In January Greece announced that it would build a fence along the land border, prompting outrage from some immigrant rights groups that feared that legitimate asylum seekers, particularly from Iran and Afghanistan, would not be able to get through but what these so called rights groups don’t think of is who’s going to be paying for them tax payers are who can barely afford to pay their own bills and keep a roof over their heads with many losing jobs, we just can’t afford any more immigrants or will all end up third world countries, the EU is just not working.
But some Greece officials say they have no choice. The new immigrants come at a time when Greece can least afford to be hospitable. It is struggling with huge debts and a faltering economy. Its detention centres are overflowing, lacking even such basics as soap and toilet paper. Immigrants who apply for asylum wait years for their cases to be heard. Greece has a backlog of 46,000 applications, officials say, and a situation that prompted the European Court of Human Rights to fine Greece last month.
“Greece is not actually the El Dorado of Europe, and we must make it clear that it is not an option when entering Europe,” said Christos Papoutsis, Greece’s secretary of citizen protection. “Especially at this point in time; we just can’t handle it.”
Some of those crossing the border seek refuge from war and conflict. But many, like Oussam Benchikha, 18, who was waiting for the Athens train, are just looking for benefits or commit crimes to get money.
The flood of immigrants has changed life in this town and in the tidy, whitewashed villages closer to the border, where doors were never locked before are always now locked because of the rising crimes caused by immigrants.
Many mornings, Fani Penitidou, 31, arrives at her convenience store in Nea Vissa and sees immigrants sleeping in the small bus shelter across the street.
“You see them on top of each other, trying to stay warm,” she said. “They are just people. But they do not have a future here. Greece cannot accommodate them or afford them we can barely keep ourselves these day’s I think it’s the same in many countries and these entire immigrants will just make matters far worse.”
Within days most head to Athens, where their presence has transformed neighbourhoods and stirred strong anti-immigrant feelings. Few can find work and crime rates have risen, hardening sentiment against them.
In the last few months the city has experienced a wave of attacks on immigrants, believed to be the work of right-wing extremists. Immigrants have been beaten and stabbed in downtown Athens and in the most grievous attack, in October; assailants locked the door of a makeshift mosque and hurled firebombs through the windows, seriously wounding four worshipers and this will start happing in all of the EU, or countries that let them in, people of these countries have had just about enough struggling to make their own ends meet with daily rising costs without the costs of more immigrants putting further burdens and tax payers at so point we have to say no more are doors are now shut until we can sort are own messes out.
Experts say that trying to stop the flow of immigrants to the European Union is much like playing a game of whack-a-mole. When one entrance is cut off, another emerges.
At the moment the Greek land border is an easy entry point compared with obstacles elsewhere.
For one thing, Turkey recently removed visa restrictions for North Africans, so many immigrants, like the young men at the station, can fly into Istanbul for about $340. In addition, minefields near the border were largely removed a few years ago, after some immigrants were wounded.
“Usually the measures that are taken don’t stop the flow, they divert it,” said Anna Triandafyllidou, a migration expert with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy. “Sometimes they moderate it. But mostly they just divert it.”
In his office in Orestiada, the police chief, George Salamangas, shows off photos and videotapes of immigrants making a run over the border a mere strip of land between parallel dirt roads, one in Turkey, the other in Greece. One video shows about two dozen young men casually emerging through tall grass. Another shows a smaller group easily outrunning the border guards to make it onto Greek soil.
Mr. Salamangas says that even 30 years ago the Greece-Turkey border was being used as an entry point by Pakistanis, Iranians and Turkish Kurds. In the last decade there were arrivals from Bangladesh, Iraq, India and Afghanistan.
But in the last year there has been a huge increase in immigrants from Africa. Traffickers have changed their methods, too, he said. They tell the immigrants to rip up their papers and cross without any identification, claiming to be from the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan or Somalia, depending on their skin colour claims that would give them a better chance at asylum.
Mr. Salamangas says that relations with Turkish soldiers on the other side remain difficult. Despite an agreement to do so, he said, soldiers there often refuse to take back immigrants who are stopped in the tiny buffer zone that separates the countries.
Capt. Gennaro Di Bello, the team leader of the Frontex group working in the area, said that Turkey had been doing better lately. But he said that each incident was a new negotiation, dependent on the attitude of the soldiers on the other side.
Mr. Papoutsis, the Greek secretary of citizen protection, says that the European Union involvement is crucial in helping Greece and Turkey come to an agreement on dealing with the immigrants.
In recent weeks, since Frontex arrived with night-vision gear and heat-seeking cameras, the number of immigrants arriving each day has dropped, officials said.
Waiting at the train station here, the young men joked and smoked cigarettes, not really sure where they were. They were astounded when they were told that Athens was more than 900 kilometres 560 miles away.