Illegal crossings into Evros skyrocket

The number of undocumented immigrants crossing illegally from Turkey into Evros in northeastern Greece rose dramatically in 2010 compared to the previous year, according to figures made public on Wednesday by the Citizens’ Protection Ministry.

A total of 8,787 immigrants were arrested trying to slip into Greece in 2009, whereas in 2010, the figure shot up to 47,088, which represents a rise of 535 percent.

Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis announced plans earlier this year to construct a 12-5 kilometer fence on the Evros border to deter clandestine migrants and human traffickers.

There were much smaller rises in the number of migrants who were detained on Dodecanese or Cycladic islands last year.

Overall, the number of illegal immigrants detected by border guards was slightly higher in 2010 (132,524) than in 2009 (126,145).

Last year, more than 52,000 migrants were repatriated.

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