Immigrants Awaiting New Law on Greek Citizenship

Children of immigrant parents holding banners asking for their right to become Greek citizens and be included in Greek registers.

The bill of the Greek Ministry of Interior on the new immigration code, which features many changes and improvements, passed on Friday with a majority in the competent committee of the Greek parliament, having the support of New Democracy and PASOK MP’s.

SYRIZA reserved its remarks on the new bill for the plenary session, while DIMAR and the representative of the Independent Democratic MP’s supported the bill in principle. Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn and the Greek Communist Party member voted against the bill.

Deputy Interior Minister Leonidas Grigorakos pledged that, until it is passed by the plenary session, he would accept any new proposals on improvements to the bill. He also mentioned that the new bill on citizenship has already been  drawn up and will soon be submitted to parliament. The bill will provide solutions, he said, for thousands of immigrants – particularly children.

“More than 100,000 children born in Greece to immigrant parents have applied for Greek citizenship,” Grigorakos told parliament, adding, “This is a very large number. We understand the problems but we have to first deal with the current matter concerning the immigration code. Then, we will hold extensive talks on the citizenship bill, which will be brought to parliament in a couple of days.”

“We are ready, and it has to be made clear, that children who grew up and live in Greece should not be blackmailed over the issue of citizenship.” In answer to the persistent demand of the opposition to find an immediate solution to this problem the deputy minister added “they should be able to obtain citizenship when they wish it, through a legal process.”