By Anta Psarra
A clause undermining the new Immigration Bill has come back into the agenda. It entails the prosecution and deportation for any immigrant or refugee who claims “falsely” being subject to ill-treatment by state authorities.
The new Immigration Bill is voted today. It started as a conventional attempt to facilitate legal immigrants to arrange their permits, help asylum-seekers ground their rights and victims of violence to acquire a protected status, but it ended up terrorizing all those with the threat of deportation, if they are seen as falsely alleging abuse.
While the opposition tried by means of interventions and proposed amendments to improve the bill, compensate for the non-acquisition of citizenship and address the living conditions of immigrants – legal and illegal, as well as of refugees, it finally turned out that the Ministry had ‘wilder’ intentions. Two amendments were filed in the last instance to undermine the few positive aspects of the bill.
The first amendment concerns the arbitrary and punitive provision of depriving legal immigrants of their right to naturalization, have they committed a crime and received a sentence with parole. The second one indicates that should an immigrant be judged to have falsely alleged abuse, he is subject to deportation.
As the representative of Syriza Vasiliki Katrivanou emphasized during her speech on 18/3. “while the bill could address the gaps in the existing Immigration Bill, it consciously got around the issue, even though the bill itself is theoretically about social inclusion. Even in the last minute the Ministry puts new obstacles to social inclusion, takes anti-constitutional measures, excluding from citizenship anyone who has been sentenced with parole, even if the parole has expired.
The amendments submitted by the Ministry are dangerous and racist. […] It characterizes your politics, which, as it is declared in the explanatory memorandum, is a politics of exclusion”.
Practically the amendments mean that, for instance, if a uniformed officer alleges that an immigrant gave a false statement, the latter will be automatically deported, while the officer would be in the clear, before the victim could even testify in court proceedings. If we recall a number of incidents, like the rape with a police baton of an immigrants which eventually led to the sentencing of a a Coast Guard officer, this amendment looks like it is going to be ideal for turning a blind eye to any extreme behaviour on the part of state authorities.
Who is going to be believed in the process, the officer or the terrified immigrant subject to immediate deportation? […]
Article translated from ‘Ef.Syn’ newspaper, 20 March 2014. Available online at: https://www.efsyn.gr/?p=183571