The New York Times published an article depicting the hard and painful living conditions of undocumented migrants in Patras. People are brought into Greek territory through Turkey, because our country “ is easier for unauthorized immigrants to reach than most of the rest of Western Europe,” noted the article.
They are usually people from Iran, Sudan or Afghanistan who left their countries in a hurry and gave in to the blackmail of intermediaries in Turkey. As a result, they live under dreadful conditions and in constant fear that they will be arrested by Greek authorities.
“For the migrants, the result has been a mix of disillusionment and despair and, for some, a determination to take on yet another risky and surreptitious journey,” noted the article. Greece is not the paradise that they were promised.
They live in makeshift shelters, in the dirt, they are hungry and tired, away from Greeks who insult them, with no way to escape the vicious circle of fear and poverty.
“Inside the factories, the immigrants divide by age, country of origin and tribal affiliations.” The young still have hopes for a better future, but the elderly “are growing bitter.”
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Due to the financial crisis, Greece cannot even support a large number of its own citizens, yet migrants are constantly arriving in the country. Even those who manage to escape from Patras and go inland, are treated with hostility by the Greeks.
Christina Tampakopoulou, member of a volunteer group for the rights of immigrants in Greece admits that things are worse than they expected and in general many of the migrants have unrealistic expectations when they leave their countries.
Meanwhile, Tryfon Korontzis, a member of the Greek Coast Guard notes that he is he engages “in a sad cat-and-mouse game” with migrant daily. They find them hidden in the most unlikely places. Even in refrigerated containers.
There are cases of people who were able to find a job, especially by strawberry produces who exploit them and do not pay them. They are stuck because of EU bureaucracy which does not allow them to move to another country, only to stay where they are and wait.