Massive Greek police clampdown on immigrants

by , under Enrique

Cash-strapped Greece showed its dark side over the weekend when some 2,000 police in Athens and surroundings arrested 1,100 undocumented immigrants and held another 4,900 for questioning, according to Clandestina blog. The action is a disturbing example of how the Greek government is trying to blame immigrants for the country’s financial problems.  

It is estimated that Greece has close to one million undocumented immigrants mostly from Asian countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and others.

Apart from having no legal protection, one of the most worrying aspects of the clampdown by Greek police is the silence of European politicians. This is not only shameful but a clear indication that matters are going to get worse in Europe for immigrants before they improve.

Adding salt to injury, the police named the operation Xenios Zeus, which was the ancient Greek god of hospitality.

Two thousand police were mobilized in Athens and 2,500 on Greece’s eastern border with long-time enemy Turkey.

The massive crackdown, which will continue, took place before the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and European Central Bank representatives were set to meet Greek officials concerning a 31.5-billion-euro tranche of aid next month.

Writes the Los Angeles Times: “Public Order and Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Dendias defended the roundups as necessary to keep Greece from unraveling, arguing that the country faced the biggest “invasion” since the influx of the ancient Dorians thousands of years ago. Dendias had earlier claimed that “unbelievably high” numbers of immigrants were involved in crime, according to Greek news reports.”

  1. JM

    This does not surprise me. I read somewhere that in the Greek elections this year, the majority of police officers in Greece voted for Golden Dawn.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Eu ignores.
      What should the EU do? Look at the US-Mexican border to understand that fences don’t stop people.

  2. Yossie

    While you cant pinpoint the illegal immigrants to be solely blamed for greek problems. It would be ridiculous to claim they wont have any effect.

    Over 1 million illegal immigrants in a country with 10 million people? Can we already talk about uncontrolled mass immigration? 1 Million is a lot of people…

    Obviously these 1 million people need to get their living from somewhere. Since they are illegals, they arent working in proper jobs and paying taxes. They must be either committing crimes or working without paying taxes. In either way they are hurting the greek state and people.

    Greeks have all the right to kick the illegal immigrants out. If you want in, then do it through legal means.

    • JM

      Small correction: Russian sources give the number of illegal immigrants in the country at 4 million while Western sources give the number at 10-12 million. Since Russian sources tend to underestimate stats like this, and Western sources tend to overestimate pretty much everything about Russian demographics (from yearly demographic decline to the Muslim population) it is quite difficult to know which number is closer to the truth.

  3. JusticeDemon

    Yossie

    Since they are illegals, they arent working in proper jobs and paying taxes. They must be either committing crimes or working without paying taxes. In either way they are hurting the greek state and people.

    Please walk us through your reasoning. Where is the work coming from? A business that reduces its labour costs will correspondingly increase its competitiveness and its profits, at least in the short term, so what is happening to those profits? Undocumented migrants pay no taxes, but also receive no public services. If this nevertheless (somehow) results in a net loss to the public economy, then the simplest solution may be to provide a route to lawful documentation (for example in return for turning State’s evidence concerning the unlawful economic activity). In this sense the Greek government is hurting itself by not taking steps to legalise the grey economy.

    Tax evasion by undocumented migrants is typically a consequence of their undocumented situation, whereas tax evasion and other economic offences committed by the employers of undocumented migrants is more obviously due to a profit motive. Clandestine employment of migrants is hardly ever based on complicity, and arises in the context of an imbalanced power relationship. Empower the migrant and you unlock the problem.

    • Yossie

      JusticeDemon

      When the illegals work for less than the unions agreed pay rates and not paying the taxes and other costs, it gives those employers competitveness yes. That is unfair advantage. There is no way those businesses that play by the book can compete with then. That means serious losses to tax gains for state (major problem in greece) and no chances to get legal employment for normal greeks (sky high unemployment in greece).

      Profits goes to those that are already rich or foreign rich companies. If they buy foreign luxury products or move their profits to tax paradises outside greece, it wont help greece.

      “Tax evasion by undocumented migrants is typically a consequence of their undocumented situation, whereas tax evasion and other economic offences committed by the employers of undocumented migrants is more obviously due to a profit motive”

      Undocumented situation is due profit motive.

      While it might be a good idea to reward some illegals for turning in unlawful employment, I dont think it is viable to go legalizing 1 million people. Do you think Greece social service could handle the 1 million extra people overnight? Also should people be rewarded for illegal actions?

      Increase the border control, kick out the illegals, heavy fines for those that employ illegals. Basically make it so that it is not profitable or viable to try illegal entry.

  4. Marco

    funny thing Tessieri.

    I set a search on you and to my surprise I found a nice effort by some people. Apparently most of the people do not give a shit about your blog because you only accept one opinion. You are afraid of the truth perhaps.

    nice video these folks did, apparently they sent it to your employer as well. A thing you by rumour get very very upset with that they find out your low morals, ethics etc.

    Iceeee!!

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Marco, why do you have to attack me if you disagree with what is being written on Migrant Tales? Why don’t you debate what I and others are saying here instead of getting personal?

  5. Iam

    Hi Marco, all
    How r u today Marco, wish all is perfect for u.

    You only accept one opinion. You are afraid of the truth perhaps…. so u have doubt, u r not sure Marco
    And
    Thats just ur idea Marco, not truth, Enrique is a high moral man U did not search enough on MT u can search more and more there r alot of opinions on here.
    Marco u r completely welcome on MT like me and others, u r free free free
    Always welcome
    Joy and joy to u Marco and the world

  6. JusticeDemon

    Yossie

    When the illegals work for less than the unions agreed pay rates and not paying the taxes and other costs, it gives those employers competitveness yes. That is unfair advantage. There is no way those businesses that play by the book can compete with then. That means serious losses to tax gains for state (major problem in greece) and no chances to get legal employment for normal greeks (sky high unemployment in greece).

    None of this is the fault of migrants. The earnings of migrants in such forms of employment typically fall below the taxable threshold anyway, so there is no significant loss of public revenue from taxation of individuals in an undocumented situation.

    I was not aware that the Nordic system of universally binding collective agreements applied in Greece.

    Profits goes to those that are already rich or foreign rich companies. If they buy foreign luxury products or move their profits to tax paradises outside greece, it wont help greece.

    This is where the major tax evasion occurs. Your assertion that the employers are foreign companies is both factually unsupported and legally irrelevant, as businesses can and should be taxed at their point of operation anyway. Shutting down such businesses is much more effective than trying to sweep up the shanty towns that they create, but it requires the government to bloody the noses of some very influential people and deliberately impair the profitability of certain segments of the economy. There is also a reason why those shanty towns tend to be deserted precisely when the police arrive.

    What is your profile of a typical undocumented worker in Greece? Is it a young Egyptian man working on a construction site? A middle-aged Tunisian woman sewing shirts in a dimly-lit cellar? A Pakistani child gathering the harvest in an olive grove? A Turkish student waiting tables during high season at a Cretan café?

    Undocumented situation is due profit motive.

    Your evidence? This is merely a gratuitous swipe at the victim from someone who lacks the courage to tackle the offence or prefers to see it continue.

    While it might be a good idea to reward some illegals for turning in unlawful employment, I dont think it is viable to go legalizing 1 million people. Do you think Greece social service could handle the 1 million extra people overnight?

    You need to make your mind up. Are these people working or not? If they are working, then where is the specific demand for social services?

    Also should people be rewarded for illegal actions?

    That is a peculiarly puritanical attitude to take over a wholly economic issue. The legislation in question exists for social and economic purposes, not to satisfy anyone’s atavistic desire to punish “wickedness”. This is merely a matter of optimising that legislation so that it achieves those purposes expediently. Sweatshops depend fundamentally on a power imbalance between the employer and the worker. Redress that imbalance and you make them effectively impossible to maintain.

    I realise that this simple and obvious solution does not appeal to the neocons who favour deregulation and the right to climb the greasy pole by treading on other people’s faces, and I also realise that it does not appeal to the authoritarian sadist mentality that gains more excitement from polishing jackboots to a high gloss, or in your words:

    Increase the border control, kick out the illegals, heavy fines for those that employ illegals. Basically make it so that it is not profitable or viable to try illegal entry.

    How much extra tax are you willing to pay in order to finance this militarisation of social and economic policy? Are you ready to devastate the Greek tourist industry by intensive police harassment of anyone who looks a little bit foreign?

    It is important to recognise that undocumented labour represents the free market ideal. The workers have no rights and the price of their labour is determined purely according to the law of supply and demand. It is unlikely that the neoliberal economic policies pursued by successive Greek governments would include any serious measures to regulate this highly profitable branch of the economy.

    • Yossie

      “The earnings of migrants in such forms of employment typically fall below the taxable threshold anyway”

      If this is the case, then legalizing the immigrants would be next to impossible. How do you propose Greece would finance the 1 million more people to health care and other goverment services if they bring next to nothing back in taxes?

      “I was not aware that the Nordic system of universally binding collective agreements applied in Greece.”

      I admit I´m not familiar with How the system works in Greece but they do have strong unions in there since they are able to organise country wide strikes.

      “Your evidence?”

      How about some simple reasoning? If they are refugees they apply for refuge. If not they are there to get higher standard of living. Why else would they come?

      “Redress that imbalance and you make them effectively impossible to maintain.”

      In practice how would you achieve this?

  7. JusticeDemon

    Yossie

    “The earnings of migrants in such forms of employment typically fall below the taxable threshold anyway”

    If this is the case, then legalizing the immigrants would be next to impossible. How do you propose Greece would finance the 1 million more people to health care and other goverment services if they bring next to nothing back in taxes?

    This supposes that the same level of abuse will continue even after the migrants are documented, but in any case labour taxation is not all paid by the worker. Employers are required to contribute towards various insurance schemes in proportion to their workforce. Most importantly, they are required to provide industrial accident insurance.

    The point of redressing the power balance at the workplace is to cut the size of the grey economy by introducing a risk into this form of criminality that only the most hardline employers will be willing to take. The grey economy then ceases to attract migrants generally, and what remains is hardcore human trafficking.

    “I was not aware that the Nordic system of universally binding collective agreements applied in Greece.”

    I admit I´m not familiar with How the system works in Greece but they do have strong unions in there since they are able to organise country wide strikes.

    The union movement cannot be so strong if it is unable to protect the interests of the weakest employees of all: undocumented migrants.

    The organising rate in Greece is about 20 per cent in the private sector and 60 per cent in the public sector. The Greek private sector has a very high proportion of small businesses, with most union organisation occurring in the tiny fraction of enterprises (about 3 per cent) employing 20 workers or more.

    “Your evidence?”

    How about some simple reasoning? If they are refugees they apply for refuge. If not they are there to get higher standard of living. Why else would they come?

    You know this intuitively?

    I asked you above to give us your profile of a typical undocumented migrant worker in Greece.

    Can we begin from the assumption that a typical undocumented migrant worker is keen to work?

    “Redress that imbalance and you make them effectively impossible to maintain.”

    In practice how would you achieve this?

    The main obstacle is political. Some very influential people profit greatly from undocumented labour in a surprising variety of ways. You very probably pay less for products made in many countries, Greece included, largely because at least part of the workforce is undocumented. How much more are you willing to pay for these products? Undocumented migrants are essential to the competitiveness of certain forms of industry in some countries (the US garment industry is a prime example).

    Broadly speaking, there is influential political support for the jackboot policies that you recommend, provided that they do not actually cause a shortage of undocumented migrant workers. The ideal is a certain level of high-visibility, high-brutality enforcement that rounds up undocumented migrants and summarily ejects them without investigating the grey economy too closely. This helps to maintain the climate of fear that prevents undocumented migrant workers from reporting abuse or agitating for better working conditions. The expelled workers are readily replaced and the profits continue to flow.

    About 6 years ago Finland introduced provisions of the kind that I have suggested in order to reduce trafficking in human beings. These provisions have very recently been extended to cover the abuse of migrant child labour and the extortionate abuse of other forms of migrant labour, based on the same underlying principle of empowering the weaker party (so more than 20 years of campaigning is beginning to bear fruit 🙂 ). You will find these provisions in sections 52 a-d of the Aliens Act. The new section 52 d reads as follows:

    52 d § (20.7.2012/449)
    Oleskeluluvan myöntäminen laittomasti maassa oleskelleelle ja työskennelleelle kolmannen maan kansalaiselle

    Suomessa olevalle laittomasti työskennelleelle kolmannen maan kansalaiselle myönnetään tilapäinen oleskelulupa, jos hän on työskentelynsä aikana oleskellut maassa laittomasti, ja:

    1) hän on työtä tehdessään ollut alaikäinen tai hänen työntekoonsa liittyy erityistä hyväksikäyttöä osoittavat työolot;

    2) hänen oleskelunsa Suomessa on perusteltua esitutkinnan tai tuomioistuinkäsittelyn vuoksi;

    3) hän on valmis tekemään yhteistyötä viranomaisten kanssa epäiltyjen työnantajien kiinni saamiseksi; sekä

    4) hänellä ei ole enää siteitä mahdollisiin rikoksesta epäiltyihin.

    Oleskeluluvan myöntäminen ei edellytä, että ulkomaalaisen toimeentulo on turvattu.

    Edellä 1 momentissa tarkoitetun henkilön ulkomailla olevalle perheenjäsenelle ei myönnetä oleskelulupaa perhesiteen perusteella.

    Edellä 1 momentissa tarkoitetulle henkilölle annettavaan harkinta-aikaan sovelletaan 52 b §:n säännöksiä ja harkinta-ajasta päättämiseen 52 c §:n säännöksiä.

  8. JM

    http://rt.com/news/immigrant-rally-athens-violence-532/

    Thought people here might be interested in this article, it’s an update on the situation in Greece.

    On a semi-related note, I find it darkly (no pun intended) ironic that these far-right Greeks want “non-whites” like Pakistanis out of Greece yet Greeks themselves aren’t even really considered that “white” by some Northern Europeans. In Sweden for example, I’ve heard Greeks referred to as “svartskalle” (literally, “blackhead” referring to their hair color, not skin color).

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