OPINION

Immigration policy needs elaboration

Statistics prove that immigrants make a vital contribution to the national economy, both through their accounts in Greek banks (believed to exceed 5 billion euros) but also through their consumption, which boosts growth. Despite the problems that may have arisen during the early phase of economic immigration to Greece – exacerbated by the lack of any clear immigration policy on the part of the state – those who came in search of a better future found one in Greece. Society and above all the economy have risen to the new challenges in a satisfactory manner. And this took place despite the major problems in our public administration. Even though laws were passed to simplify procedures for integrating immigrants into Greek society, various groups (both within and outside the state system) are exploiting the desire of thousands of people to live and prosper in our country. Bureaucracy, a nightmare even for those born here, has become an even greater scourge for immigrants. Various unscrupulous people find or invent obstacles for those wanting a share in what has become known in the Balkans as the «Greek dream.» The government’s legislative decisions aimed at easing immigrants’ assimilation are a step in the right direction but they are not enough. Throughout history, our public administration has always resisted change, whether due to inefficiency or to corruption from within. Its treatment of immigrants is no exception. It is our duty to realize that immigrants are the most active element of our everyday life. They contribute to growth and enrich our society. More and more Greeks are realizing that racist behavior must be marginalized. But the effort to achieve this must be constant. Moreover, the state should not restrict itself to making laws but should take steps to ensure that its mechanisms are able to carry out the government’s political will. Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting.