[earthtimes.org] Athens - Authorities in Greece detained 146,000 illegal immigrants, most of whome came from Turkey, altogether in 2008, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. In addition, 2,211 people traffickers were arrested and brought before the courts.
The issue of illegal immigration is a priority for Greece, according to the Foreign Ministry in Athens.
Foreign Minister Dora Bakogianni earlier announced that the government wanted to see the issue of illegal migration on the agenda at the next European Union summit.
One out of every ten people living in Greece is a non-EU national. The overall number of immigrants is estimated at around 1.2 million, including 800,000 - mainly Albanians - with residence permits.
Greece’s immigrant problem centres around some 400,000 unregistered migrants, the majority being from Asia and North African-born refugees who wait at the western Greek ports of Patras, Corfu and Igoumenitsa to travel to Italy and then on to Western Europe.
According to aid agencies, such migrants remain without legal protection and are left to “vegetate.”