NEWS

Illegal immigrants to be held in prefabricated units

The government aims to create more space for the temporary detention of thousands of undocumented immigrants streaming into Greece by introducing legislative reforms foreseeing changes to current laws governing the use of buildings, land and construction outside the town plan.

The reforms, signed by Environment Minister Tina Birbili, Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou and Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis and tabled in Parliament late on Wednesday, also foresees the erection of prefabricated buildings on public or private plots of land outside the town plan for the accommodation of migrants.

The reforms will be accompanied by the withdrawal of the government?s original plans to revamp disused military facilities for use as migrant detention centers, it emerged yesterday. These plans were abandoned as they would have required ?large-scale repairs, improvements and time-consuming interventions,? the text of the amendment said, emphasizing ?the urgent need for a solution to the problem of public order… in the face of a relentless influx of illegal immigrants into Greek territory.?

There is no reference in the text to specific areas where new temporary detention centers for immigrants might be built. But it refers to ?existing buildings in areas outside the town plan? and ?state-owned sports facilities which could be used for the construction of prefabricated buildings as an exception to existing legislation governing construction outside the town plan.?

In a related development on Wednesday, Deputy Labor Minister Anna Dalara met with officials from workers? unions and migrant support organizations to discuss another set of planned reforms to legislation governing the rights of migrants living and working legally in Greece. The aim of the reforms is to ensure that migrants do not lose their work permits due to a lack of social security stamps.