Migrants at the mercy of red tape and opportunists

Foreigners who have lived in Greece for years and whose residence status slips in and out of illegality. Lawyers, people who claim to be lawyers, and «service centers» that have become rich selling fake hope and false documents (for 1,500-3,000 euros) to unsuspecting foreigners. Public servants, some of whom make heroic attempts to serve endless lines of migrants, some of whom act out the underlying xenophobia, and others who get involved in illegal activities. A typical example of the last category was the arrest some months ago of the head of the Athens prefecture office, the largest in the land, for participation in a gang dealing in forged permits. Migrants have become a gold mine, not only for insurance funds, but also for the gangs that have flourished in the gap created by Greek policy on immigration. A series of amendments followed the initial legislation, Law 2910 of 2001, and it is now the turn of the government that was elected this spring to set matters right. It states that the negative experience of the past will be used to solve the problem by formulating a consistent policy.