New legislation tabled in Parliament by the Migration Ministry on Wednesday seeks to accelerate deportations and to grant police additional powers in the procedures that are currently under the purview of the migration and asylum authorities.
Under one of the key provisions of the draft law, the police will be able to order the deportation of migrants caught crossing into Greece through irregular channels and without proper papers if they do not apply for asylum or if their application for protection is rejected. Undocumented migrants may also be held in custody prior to deportation if they are considered a flight risk or a threat to public order.
The new legislation reduces the grace period for voluntary deportations from 30 days to between a week and 25 days, while also making it harder for migrants to challenge a deportation order by applying a stricter definition to what can be regarded as “humanitarian grounds” and reducing the period in which they can take legal recourse against such a decision to 30 days after it is issued.
With regard to younger migrants, unaccompanied minors who are not granted asylum but cannot be deported either will be granted full healthcare and social security coverage.
Measures are also foreseen to more strictly regulate the activities of nongovernmental organizations, civil society bodies and volunteer groups in areas overlapping with the jurisdiction of Greece’s coast guard and port authorities, with the penalties for violations of the new operational framework also being made stricter.