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Samos Mayor Says Refugees, Migrants Belong on Greece’s Mainland

December 14, 2018

Despite having been ignored before, the mayor of Samos, overrun with refugees and migrants that nearby Turkey is allowing human traffickers to send to Greek islands, again has asked for them to be taken to the mainland.

Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos wrote to Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas,  asking him to fulfill a promise to reduce crowding at a detention center on the island by Dec. 16, although there were no plans to do so.

He said that Vitsas should personally take charge, said Kathimerini, to meet his Dec. 4 pledge to start moving some of the overload although the government said it can’t allow mass transfers as it would violate a suspended European Union swap deal with Turkey which has taken back only a relative handful of those deemed ineligible for asylum.

Greek islands are holding more than 15,000 refugees and migrants who went there after first going to Turkey, fleeing war and strife in the Middle East and other countries in hope f reaching more prosperous European Union countries before the borders were shut to them.

A total of 4,028 people are being detained in the center on Samos that was designed to hold only 648. Vitsas went to the island to reassure authorities he would help but hasn’t yet.

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