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Rise in anti-migrant sentiment February 2, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Human rights, Yunanistan.
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Six out of 10 citizens believe that immigration is having a negative impact on society and diluting Greek national identity, according to the results of a new survey carried out for Kathimerini as the government finalizes draft legislation foreseeing the granting of citizenship to thousands of second-generation migrants.

According to the opinion poll, carried out by Public Issue last week on a sample of 500 citizens, 59 percent of respondents believe that immigration is harming the country, up from 47 percent in 2008, while 57 percent think migrants are tainting national identity, as compared to 47 percent in 2008. The economic crisis also appears to have influenced public opinion, with 45 percent complaining that migrants are depriving Greek citizens of jobs, up from 39 percent in 2008. The proportion of the public that blames immigrants for rising crime levels remains steadily high, at 75 percent.

The poll highlights an apparent shift to the right, with 72 percent maintaining that the government’s immigration policy is not strict enough, as compared to 63 percent in 2008. There also appears to be a conviction, among the overwhelming majority of respondents (88 percent), that a limit should be set on the number of immigrants allowed to remain in the country, with six in 10 complaining that there are already too many migrants in Greece.

As for the government’s draft law, which foresees the naturalization of 250,000 children of migrants born in Greece and of thousands more migrants who have been living here legally for more than five years, public opinion appears to be split down the middle. The poll shows that 45 percent of respondents are in favor of citizenship and voting rights being granted to second-generation and long-term migrants, while the same percentage also oppose these proposals.

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