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Greece Plans Border Fence to Thwart Illegal Immigration from Turkey

January 3, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Europe, Immigration with 0 Comments

Greece has announced plans to construct an eight-mile (12km) long fence along a part of the country’s border with Turkey that is a popular crossing spot for undocumented immigrants.

Greek Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis cited the 100,000 migrants who entered the country illegally in 2010 as the reason for the planned barrier. When adjusted for population, that’s more than the number of people who crossed illegally from Mexico into the United States last year.

The fence will be built near Orestiada in extreme northeastern Greece, an area which saw an average of 245 illegal crossings every day this past October. Greece has complained to Turkey, but not much has been done to stem the tide of Asian and African immigrants seeking better lives in the European Union.

Minister Papoutsis says Greece can “no longer tolerate this.” The country, which is reeling from economic difficulties, views itself as both a gateway to and a guardian of the EU. As many as 90% of all illegal entries into the EU are made through Greece.

But many in Europe, and even in Greece itself, oppose the fence. A spokesman for the EU Commission decried such “short-term measures which will not allow us to tackle illegal immigration in a structural manner.” The popular Greek Communist Party called the proposed wall “inhuman and ineffective.”

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