clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘political rights’

On the much discussed bill on citizenship

Posted by clandestina on 26 January 2010

The proposed legislation to grant citizenship to some second generation immigrants puts partially an end to their chronic status of being hostages in the country where they were born and have lived so far their lives .   However, this bill, which is ostensibly  introduced to correct at least partially an injustice,  does hold many pitfalls:

1) Children’s “legalisation” depends on the “legality” of their parents. As has been repeatedly stressed, no sans papiers can benefit from the proposed naturalization process.

2) The proposed conditions for granting citizenship turn the latter into a “certificate of social conscience” [as the one issued by post-civil war police or army authorities certifying that its owner was not a communist – thereof employable in the public sector and entitled to various other rights]; those eligible and finally granted citizenship will be under the constant threat of having their citizenship removed; moreover, one to be eligible for the naturalisation process ”must have not been convicted to a prison sentence of at least one year for a period of ten years prior to the application, must have not been convicted of offences against the state, (…) of resistance to authority [for instance, resistance to arrest], of slander” as well as “of facilitating the transfer or the provision of shelter to illegal immigrants or of breaches of legislation concerning the settlement and movement of aliens in Greece.”

3) Proposed army recruitment of immigrants (a relief for the army ranks in view of the growing reluctance among Greek youth to draft) adds to the exploitative blackmail that makes legal residence dependent on work revenue stamps (immigrant active workforce’s contributions with no pension claims so far have been so far the Greek administrations preferred approach for dealing with the ailing public insurance funds); the unacceptably high fee (1,000 euros per person which means millions of euros for the state ) is maintained.

4) The much debated bill is merely an integration regulation for immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation and in exchange for votes.  On April 28, 2009 Albania formally applied for EU membership. This prospect might seem remote, but wasn’t it the same with Romania and Bulgaria some years ago? Thus, although it now seems that the naturalization process applies and is of interest for the majority of immigrants in Greece, in a few years, when the Albanians will be EU citizens, the now proposed regulation will only aplly to a very small minotirty of immigrants. In fact, those in the worst position now will be then further devalued. The division into ‘goods’ and ‘bads’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘clandestine’ immigrants is being petrified as the global system of exploitation deepens.

Alongside with the proposal of the “benefactory” bill the Greek state has been all the more stressing its commitment to “zero tolerance” policies, the “sealing” of the borders, deportation camps, the Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the Dublin II Regulation, the Schengen Treaty, the Outrageous Directive. Finally, we should remind that the law provision for deporting immigrants charged (not convicted) of minor misdeeds on “public order and security” grounds is still in effect.

Clandestina network, January 2010

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Government on Citizenship for Second Generation immigrants

Posted by clandestina on 23 December 2009

source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_23/12/2009_113525

Immigrants to get citizenship

Cabinet approves pioneering draft law to give foreigners and their children greater rights

Second-generation immigrants are going to be given the right to claim Greek citizenship and vote in the country’s elections, the Cabinet decided yesterday.

In what will be groundbreaking legislation for Greece, the proposed law would allow some 250,000 children who have been born in the country to migrant parents to call themselves Greek. Under the draft law, now open to public consultation, if one of the child’s parents has been living in Greece for at least five years in a row, then their son or daughter will be able to claim citizenship.

This right will also be available to children who have attended the first three years of primary school in Greece or have studied at Greek schools for a total of six years. The Interior Ministry estimates that if the law is passed before next year’s municipal elections, then 150,000 second-generation immigrants will be able to vote in the polls.

The bill also proposes that foreigners living and working in Greece legally for five consecutive years will be able to be naturalized, allowing them to vote and run in local elections but not general elections.

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that police have already been instructed not to arrest or deport second-generation immigrants over paperwork discrepancies.

New Democracy accused the government of ignoring the significance of awarding someone citizenship, while the nationalists Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) accused PASOK of “distorting the electoral body.”

Yesterday’s Cabinet meeting was also memorable for another reason, as it was the first time that the head of the Church of Greece was invited to take part. Archbishop Ieronymos repeated proposals that unused Church property be used to help raise money for noble causes.


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