Citizenship law change could benefit thousands

As many as 100,000 children who have been born to migrant parents in Greece could benefit in a law change that would allow them to obtain citizenship more easily, some experts believe.

Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou has said that government will pass a law allowing all second generation migrants the right to claim citizenship, even though SYRIZA’s coalition partner Independent Greeks has said that its MPs will not back such legislation.

This comes after the PASOK government passed in 2010 a law that allowed migrants’ children to claim Greek citizenship if their parents had lived legally in the country for at least five years. The law, though, was opposed by New Democracy, which led the coalition formed in June 2012 and the Council of State deemed the legislation unconstitutional in 2013.

Before the process was frozen, though, more than 25,000 applications for citizenship had been received from second generation immigrants. Of these, 11,289 related to children that had been born in Greece and another 14,016 to children who had studied at Greek schools. Authorities only managed to process 9,998 applications before the Council of State ruling, leaving more than 15,000 cases pending.

However, Dimitris Christopoulos, the vice president of the Hellenic League for Human Rights, believes that there are some 100,000 second generation migrants in Greece. He believes that it is vital to offer them citizenship because otherwise authorities will create “angry adults.”