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Greece Hunting for Refugee, Migrant Detention Centers Sites

December 27, 2019

ATHENS – The New Democracy government said it would work with local officials in areas where plans are being mulled for detention centers to sort out migrants not eligible for asylum from refugees who fled war zones in other countries who are in line for sanctuary.

Citizens’ Protection Ministry General Secretary Manos Logothetis said plans should be finished by year’s end as part of the scheme to move some 20,000 refugees and migrants off islands to the mainland, where resistance has been fierce in some towns which blocked buses bringing them to hotels and other buildings.

There are more than 96,000 in Greece, including more than 45,000 on islands near Turkey which has let human traffickers keep sending them during an essentially-suspended swap deal with the European Union, with Turkey taking back only about 2,000 so far.

Turkey has been flooded with millions fleeing war and strife in other countries, especially Afghanistan and Syria, whose hopes of getting to more prosperous countries in Europe were blocked after borders were closed to them.

That leaves only the option of getting asylum in Greece, with another more than 44,000 arriving since New Democracy took power on July 7, ousting the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that the Conservatives said had an open-door policy inviting them to come.

On the island of Lesbos, some 20,835 asylum seekers live in overcrowded facilities designed to hold only about 2,000 of them, with another 2,861 migrants coming in recent weeks, creating more concern.

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