Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

Friday, April 13, 2018

Greece’s Island of Despair

Text by ILIANA MAGRAMARCH 29, 2018

The New York Times

His brown eyes sunken and flat, Jahangir Baroch had spent another sleepless night in the metal container on the Greek island of Lesbos where he has lived for more than a year.

“There was no electricity in the container last night,” Mr. Baroch, 26, said desperately, at a center for refugees, away from the holding camp in Moria, where he is housed. “It was like a fridge.”

“I want to go to Athens,” said Mr. Baroch, who came from Baluchistan, an embattled province in Pakistan. “If you don’t want me, I want to go to another country.”

“Why am I here?” he asked, somberly.

Others are asking the same question two years after the European Union struck a deal with Turkey aimed at cutting off the route across the Aegean Sea for asylum seekers, many propelled by wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since then, thousands have remained stranded on Lesbos, unwilling to go back to the countries they left, unable to move forward, toward the opportunity they had hoped to find in Europe. Though the numbers are fewer, they keep coming.

The lucky ones, whose asylum applications are accepted, are eventually shipped to the Greek mainland. Those whose applications are rejected (they can apply twice) are sent back to Turkey as part of the deal with the European Union.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Greece: Protest and fire break out at Lesbos migrant camp

By Associated Press July 10 at 10:19 AM

The Washington Post

ATHENS, Greece — Authorities on the Greek island of Lesbos say a fire has broken out at a large migrant camp following a protest at the site.

Police said no injuries were reported from Monday’s protest and that the fire believed to have been set deliberately at the Moria camp is still burning.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Third migrant dies in a week in harsh Greek camp conditions

Mon Jan 30, 2017 | 1:07pm EST


By Karolina Tagaris | ATHENS
The third migrant to perish in a week was found dead in his tent on Monday on Greece's Lesbos island, raising alarm about the grim winter conditions in overcrowded camps that critics have denounced as deplorable.

The dead man is believed to be about 20 and from Pakistan, a police official on the island said. Another migrant who shared his tent was critically ill and taken to hospital.

The death at the island's Moria camp follows those of a 22-year-old Egyptian and a 46-year-old Syrian who shared a tent and died days apart. Greek media reported they had inhaled fumes from a heater, but authorities would not confirm or deny that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Advances Border Wall to Start Immigration Crackdown

by Margaret Talev  and Jennifer Jacobs
25 Ιανουαρίου 2017, 6:28 π.μ. EET 26 Ιανουαρίου 2017, 6:06 π.μ. EET


President Donald Trump acted on two of the most fundamental -- and controversial -- elements of his presidential campaign, declaring on Wednesday that he would build a wall on the border with Mexico and greatly tighten restrictions on who can enter the U.S.

Trump signed a pair of orders to set in motion the construction of a "physical wall" across the 1,989-mile length of the southern border and to strengthen immigration enforcement within the U.S. The second order includes an attempt to crack down on "sanctuary cities" that refuse to allow their police to enforce federal immigration law.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump to Unveil Plans for Mexico Border Wall and Limiting Refugees' Entry

by Margaret Talev  and Nick Wadhams
25 January 2017, 6:28 π.μ. EET


President Donald Trump plans to unveil actions on national security starting Wednesday that are expected to include steps toward building a wall on the Mexican border and limiting refugee inflows to the U.S., moving to fulfill key promises he made during his election campaign.

“Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!” the president wrote Tuesday night in a message on his personal Twitter feed.

The announcement on the border wall is expected during a Wednesday afternoon visit by the president to the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that has primary jurisdiction over securing the border and would carry out most of the other immigration-related steps that Trump talked about in his run for office.

Monday, December 12, 2016

International migrant-smuggling ring dismantled in Greece

The Washington Post

By Associated Press December 12 at 10:20 AM
ATHENS, Greece — Greek and British authorities say they have dismantled an international ring suspected of smuggling hundreds of migrants to Britain and other European countries using falsified travel documents.

A Greek police statement says that 24 suspects were arrested last week in the Athens area, and another nine in Glasgow, Northampton and Manchester in Britain.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Turkey calls for end to NATO's migrant mission in Aegean

Thu Oct 27, 2016 | 8:34am EDT


By Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold | BRUSSELS
Turkey is seeking an end to NATO's counter-migration mission in the Aegean Sea and it is telling the U.S.-led alliance that the sharp drop in refugees trying to get to Greece means there is no longer a need for warships to patrol its coast.

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik told other NATO defense ministers on Wednesday that Ankara no longer saw a need for the mission to continue beyond the end of December, according to two people briefed on the exchanges, despite strong support across the alliance for the mission.

"This was a temporary mission, and the goal has been reached in this temporary mission. There is no need to extend it further," Isik told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

After Initial Drop, Fresh Surge in Migrant Arrivals Puts Extra Strain on Greece

Rising numbers of asylum seekers disregard Europe’s strategy to deter them from making the journey

The Wall Street Journal

Aug. 30, 2016 6:47 p.m. ET
CHIOS, Greece— Yasmin Ali made the perilous crossing from Turkey to this Aegean island two weeks ago even though she knew she would be trapped here, unable to travel farther into Europe.

The 19-year-old Syrian economics student is one of a rising number of people disregarding Europe’s double strategy for deterring mass migration—a deal with Turkey to return new arrivals, and the closure of Balkan borders to the north—and stretching Greece’s capacity to absorb more asylum seekers even thinner.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Police Report of Cologne New Year’s Eve Details Chaos, Overwhelmed Force

Angela Merkel signals willingness to toughen deportation procedures

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Jan. 7, 2016 4:18 p.m. ET
A detailed account of the mass assaults in Germany’s fourth-largest city on New Year’s Eve emerged Thursday, drawing a picture of chaos and aggression that left police overstretched and attackers enjoying virtual free rein.

An internal federal police report dated Jan. 4 and seen by The Wall Street Journal described scenes in Cologne of crying women fleeing sexual molestation from crowds of men, passersby trying to rescue young girls from being raped, and groups of intoxicated men throwing bottles and fireworks at a police force no longer in control of the situation.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door

By TIM ARANGODEC. 22, 2015
The New York Times

IZMIR, Turkey — The Turkish Coast Guard has stepped up nighttime patrols on the choppy, wintry waters of the Aegean Sea, seizing rafts full of refugees fleeing war for Europe and sending them back to Turkey.

Down south, at the border with Syria, Turkey is building a concrete wall, digging trenches, laying razor wire and at night illuminating vast stretches of land in an effort to cut off the flow of supplies and foreign fighters to the Islamic State.

Tighter Borders in Europe Create Migrant Bottleneck in Greece

Athens struggles to cope with thousands of new arrivals blocked from moving north

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 22, 2015 4:04 p.m. ET
ATHENSGreece is steadily shifting from being the main gateway for migrants into Europe to becoming the continent’s bottleneck, as new arrivals run up against tightened borders to the north.

Already struggling with its long debt crisis and economic depression, Greece risks finding itself unable to cope with the tens of thousands of migrants at risk of being marooned here this winter. Some are staying in temporary government shelters, others are sleeping rough.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Greece Scores Another Bitter Victory

Analysis DECEMBER 16, 2015 | 18:38 GMT

Editor's Note: Greece is a country in crisis. Facing financial, political and social uncertainty, Greece's ruling Syriza party has cut a deal with the European Union that should keep the Greek economy afloat at least for the time being. However, further measures to appease Athens' creditors could create political discord, if not violence, in Greece. The situation is precarious, and it is very possible that the agreement will collapse. Stratfor is logging the latest developments in this crisis update.

Late Dec. 15, the Greek Parliament approved a package of measures that will allow the country to receive 1 billion euros (about $1.1 billion) in bailout funds. The measures include legislation authorizing the sale of bad business loans from local banks to foreign investors and a new pay scale for civil servants. It was another bitter victory for the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, probably the last in a year in which the ruling Syriza party had to approve a series of controversial policies to secure funding from the country's creditors.

Tsipras did manage to preserve his thin majority, as the 153 lawmakers from the ruling party and its junior coalition partner voted in favor of the package. In addition, the reforms were not particularly controversial, and the Eurogroup will probably decide in the coming hours that Greece deserves to receive the next tranche of the bailout. But unfortunately for the Greek leader, his government will have to pass even more controversial measures in January.

The most important aspect of the Dec. 15 package is what was not included. Plans to partially privatize the national power grid operator, the Independent Power Transmission Operator, were postponed until 2016. A controversial plan to eliminate subsidies for farmers has also been repeatedly postponed since Greece first signed a bailout agreement with the Eurogroup in July, both out of fear of massive protests from a particularly noisy sector of the population and because many representatives in the legislature hail from agricultural regions.

More important, in January the Greek Parliament will have to vote on a plan to overhaul the country's pension system to cut spending by almost 2 billion euros next year. Because pensions are one of the last safety nets remaining in Greece, this is far from a minor issue. In a country where unemployment affects at least a quarter of the active population (the figures are twice as high among the youth), entire families depend on pensions from their parents or grandparents. In November, the Greek Parliament passed legislation making it easier for banks to evict families that are behind on mortgage payments. The new regulations still protect a significant number of households and will probably not be fully enforced, but they represent even further erosion of Greece's already weak safety nets.

Finally, Greece is facing an increasingly complex migration crisis. There was a significant spike in the arrival of asylum seekers from the Middle East in 2015, which forced Athens to spend extra funds to provide food and shelter for some of the migrants. For most of the year, Athens benefited from the fact that these men and women wanted to move on to Northern Europe rather than stay in Greece. The situation began to change in recent weeks, when several countries along the Balkan route started building fences and bolstering border controls to reduce the influx of immigrants. Making matters worse, Brussels forced Athens to accept a Frontex (the European Union's border agency) operation on Greece's northern border.

The European Union recently signed a deal with Turkey to prevent people from entering Greece, but the impact of the agreement has yet to be seen. Greece's main fear in the coming weeks is that people will still try to enter the country but will have a harder time leaving. This would not only increase Athens' financial burden but, more important, increase the likelihood of anti-immigrant violence in the country.

In principle, a Grexit will be less likely in 2016 than it was in 2015 because Athens is already in a bailout program and does not face a particularly pressing calendar of debt maturities. Capital controls are already in place, and parliaments in the eurozone do not have to hold any votes related to Greece. However, Greece's ruling Syriza party controls a tenuous majority of only three seats in the Parliament, meaning that even a small rebellion among the lawmakers could topple the government. In addition, because the recession, high unemployment and the immigration crisis are far from over, street protests and episodes of violence — which have been relatively rare since Syriza won the election in January — will become more frequent.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Greece Agrees to More EU Help With Migrants

EU members were pressuring Greece to better monitor the bloc’s external border
The Wall Street Journal

Updated Dec. 3, 2015 5:03 p.m. ET
BRUSSELSGreece appeared to succumb to pressure from other governments as it agreed to accept more European Union help to control migrant flows.

Under pressure from EU governments, including a veiled suggestion that it could be suspended from the Schengen passport-free zone, Greece agreed to three steps to better handle incoming migrants, including assistance from the EU Border Agency, the European Commission said.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

EU presses Greece over migrants, weighs Schengen threat

Wed Dec 2, 2015 6:37pm EST Related: WORLD, GREECE, MIGRANT CRISIS

Greece hit back on Wednesday at threats from some EU states to suspend it from the Schengen zone of open border travel because of its failure to control large numbers of migrants entering Europe.

Some central European officials, most prominently Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, have suggested excluding Greece from Schengen. Diplomats and European Union officials say some governments have raised the possibility informally but it would be a largely symbolic move, with little impact on migration.

"It is not said officially, but there is pressure," Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas told reporters, denying a Financial Times report on Wednesday that Athens had, among other things, refused an EU offer of devices designed to share the identity data of incoming migrants around the bloc.

Friday, September 25, 2015

For thousands fleeing war, transit through Greece continues unabated

Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:25am EDT Related: WORLD, AFGHANISTAN, GREECE, SYRIA

They cheered, waved and flashed the victory sign when their boat, packed with thousands of mainly Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi refugees, docked at Greece's main port of Piraeus on Friday.

As the stream of arrivals from Turkey across to Greece's islands continued unabated, nearly 4,000 people were ferried from the eastern islands of Lesbos and Chios to the mainland on Friday morning on two government-chartered ships.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

After Greek Election Victory, Alexis Tsipras Faces Two Immediate Crises

Newly sworn-in prime minister must carry out contentious bailout plan and tackle migrant crisis

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Sept. 21, 2015 2:34 p.m. ET
ATHENS— Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece’s prime minister on Monday after his left-wing Syriza party decisively beat its conservative rivals. But there is no honeymoon period for the 41-year-old leader.

He must quickly address a double challenge: the implementation of politically explosive pension cuts and other austerity measures under Greece’s bailout plan, and a migration crisis that Greece’s parties have mostly avoided dealing with.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

U.S. ships head towards migrant vessel in distress off Greece

ATHENS | Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:54pm EDT
(Reuters) - The U.S. navy on Monday sent two guided missile destroyers to help a boat apparently carrying migrants and in distress off southern Greece.

No details of the operation were immediately available but a Greek defense official said a commercial vessel had reported sighting a migrant vessel in international waters, heading towards Italy, about 116 nautical miles off the coast of Kalamata.