Greece: Town a flash point in trying to halt Muslim immigration

Greece: Town a flash point in trying to halt Muslim immigration

Via Washington Post:

NEA VISSA, GREECE - This little farming town on the edge of Europe, where the crosses of Greek Orthodox churches face Turkey's minarets scarcely a mile away, has become the latest battleground in the continent's war against a flood of unwanted immigrants from the strife-torn Muslim world.

The European Union's joint border patrol force, Frontex, dispatched armed international guards last week to reinforce Greek patrols around Nea Vissa, seeking to seal an eight-mile stretch of frontier that has become the main corridor for illegal entry into Europe for thousands of fortune-seeking Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and North Africans. The 200-member pan-European deployment marked the first such Frontex operation along the borders of one of the European Union's 27 member nations. Greek officials called it a belated recognition that the onrush of immigrants here is a problem that must be dealt with by all of Europe.


Greek authorities calculate they arrested about 45,000 illegal immigrants in the first half of the year, most of them near here, accounting for 90 percent of the illegal immigrants taken into custody in all of Western Europe. As many as 350 illegal immigrants a day were being captured in the Evros Valley farmlands around Nea Vissa, according to Maj. Athanasios Kokkalakis of the Interior Ministry.

Besides those taken into custody, at least 15 percent more evade Greek authorities, he said. For almost all, the goal is travel onward - to Italy, France, Germany, Britain and Scandinavia - in search of new homes in societies where the economies are strong, the social welfare systems are generous and, above all, there are no wars.