Crackdown on illegal immigrants in Athens

In order to cope with the high numbers of illegal immigrants flocking to the capital, the government proposes to create 500 new jobs for border guards within the greater Athens area, an official said yesterday. According to Deputy Public Order Minister Evangelos Malesios, the new guards – a position first created three years ago to address the wave of illegal immigration overrunning Greece’s northern and eastern borders – will be «immediately» hired. They will serve in parts of Athens with high concentrations of immigrants, such as Vathis Square, Metaxourgeio and the environs of Acharnon Street, Ano Liosia and the capital’s eastern outskirts. Last year, Greece’s 4,119 border guards were responsible for arresting 167,176 of the total 219,598 illegal immigrants apprehended around the country. Unfortunately, the greater part of Simitis’s term has been frittered away on dealing with inner-party dissent. His occasional victories over the various aspirants to the party leadership or the various party alliances have failed to restore some order inside the party that would allow him to finally tackle the country’s vexing problems.