Immigration concerns hit peak

Nine in 10 Greeks believe that the country has reached saturation as concerns the number of immigrants it can accept, according to a new opinion poll carried out for Sunday’s Kathimerini. The Public Issue survey found that 93 percent of the public questioned believes that Greece cannot accept any more migrants, while only 4 percent believes that there is still room for more. Immigration has come to the forefront as an issue on the political landscape over the last few months, particularly after the government’s defeat in the European Parliament elections last month, and it appears that an increasing proportion of voters are concerned about the influx of migrants. Seven in 10 (72 percent) believe that immigration laws in Greece are too lax – up from 65 percent last year – while half believe that the regulations in the European Union are not tough enough to deter illegal immigration. This is up from 33 percent of those questioned in 2008. In recent weeks, the government has proposed several measures to tackle illegal immigration, one of which is to create detention centers at former army camps. Just over a third of the 622 people questioned disagreed with this measure but 56 percent thought that it was a good idea. Just over half of respondents also believe that immigration harms the economy, as opposed to 32 percent, who believe that immigrants are a boon to economic growth. Three in four voters believe that there is a direct correlation between immigration and rising crime in Greece, while 39 percent believes that migrants are taking jobs from Greeks. Almost half of the respondents feel that migrants are employed in positions in which Greeks would not be interested. Overall, 62 percent believe that immigration is «probably» doing harm to Greece. This is up from 54 percent last year. In contrast, 19 percent believe that it is «probably» doing good, down from 23 percent in 2008.