The Greek Police announced that 16,836 foreign nationals were brought for questioning during the first month that Xenios Zeus was instigated, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). A staggering 80% of those brought in for questioning were legal residents. Only 2,144 held by the police didn’t have their residence permits in order.
Xenios Zeus, which was the ancient Greek god of hospitality, is a good example of how ineffective immigration policies and economic problems can force xenophobia to poison a society.
Sensible people understand that scapegoating immigrants for the country’s economic problems is a red herring. Greek politicians and civil servants, with the blessings of the public, are more interested in blaming defenseless immigrants and refugees for Greece’s problems than themselves.
Whenever a person or a group scapegoats immigrants and minorities, it is a clear sign of cowardice and opportunism.
The Greek public should critically look at the country’s politicians, civil servants and financial sector and launch a “Xenios Zeus” to uproot corruption that festers in that country.
ECRE writes in a statement: ”Greek authorities claim that as a result of Xenios Zeus, the influx of illegal immigration in the area of Evros has been reduced by 84%. However, according to the newspaper ‘To Vima’, the “Xenios Zeus” operation has resulted in a dramatic increase in the smuggling tariffs for entering Greece from Turkey and leaving Greece for Italy. A few months ago, smugglers would request 2,500 to 3,000 Euro for a safe passage, while would-be migrants are now asked to pay up to 5,000 Euros.”
Groups like ECRE, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Greek Council of Refugees have criticized the massive police roundup of immigrants.