This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Illegal Immigrants Become Scapegoats in Greece

Xenophobia means "fear of strangers" in Greek, and the Greeks are currently having a major spell of this. The financial crisis has allowed right-wing extremists to gain a voice, and are taking aim at undocumented immigrants in Greece, who are largely from South Asia, Albania, and Africa, according to a story in today's New York Times. 
With what critics say is a poorly policed border with Turkey, Greece is seen as an entry point for illegal immigrants, some of them asylum seekers but most intent on moving to more promising economic terrain in Northern and Western Europe. But many of the immigrants remain in Greece or are returned there after being deported from other countries in Europe. This has stoked fears here of an onslaught of illegal immigrants, who economists say bear little or no responsibility for Greece’s economic troubles but who make easy scapegoats for politicians across the spectrum.
The Socialists, who were in power when Greece asked for a foreign bailout, have seen their popularity plummet, and they are desperate for a way to reconnect with voters. This month, Greece’s public order minister, Michalis Chrisochoidis, a Socialist in the interim government of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, said Greece would set up detention centers for illegal immigrants. And the Socialist health minister caused a stir when he said that Greece would require illegal immigrants to undergo checks for infectious diseases.
This is a familiar story, of course, for those of us in the US who have watched anti-immigrant legislation be introduced in state after state in response to the economic crisis of the past few years.

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