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July 2012 Volume 19 Number 3
Greece. The number of registered foreigners fell by 25 percent between 2009 and 2011, to about 450,000. There are believed to be another 400,000 to 700,000 unauthorized or quasi-authorized foreigners in Greece, including many who arrived via Greece's 126-mile long land border with Turkey. Most of the foreigners who entered Greece illegally and are detected are given forms that instruct them to leave Greece within 30 days.<< back
In 2011, about 55,000 foreigners were detected entering Greece from Turkey over the land border; over 100,000 are expected in 2012.
Many migrants use their 30 days to attempt to travel to France or Germany. If detected in these countries, many apply for asylum, only to be returned to Greece because, under the EU's Dublin convention, as the first safe country reached, Greece has the responsibility to deal with their asylum applications.
Between 2007 and 2012, the EU provided Greece with E393 million to improve migration management. Complaints about migrant crime prompted the Greek government to seek E250 million from the EU to build "closed hospitality centers" for 30,000 foreigners.
The economic crisis in Greece increased support for Golden Dawn, a group that campaigns for "a clean Greece, only for Greeks, a safe Greece." Immigration was a controversial topic before the elections of May 6, 2012, when Golden Dawn received seven percent of the vote and entered Parliament for the first time. Golden Dawn has organized neighborhood-watch patrols in downtown Athens, which critics say are anti-migrant patrols. Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, elected to the Athens City Council in 2010, advocates deporting unauthorized foreigners immediately.
Spain. Spain had net out-migration in 2011, that is, more people left than arrived. There are about 800,000 Moroccans in Spain, and up to half are reportedly considering returning home. Spain is offering return bonuses to those who leave and give up their residence permits.
The New York Times reported on April 7, 2012 that trafficking women for sex has increased in the aftermath of the 2008-09 economic recession, involving 200,000 to 400,000 mostly foreign women in Spain. The traffickers include criminal gangs from Nigeria, China and other countries. A third of the women are from the Balkans, and some are taken to Spain by "boyfriends." Prostitution is legal in Spain, and many women pay hotels $90 a day for room and board.