ATHENS – A new law opening the door for migrant citizenship could see as many as 100,000 children born to migrant parents in Greece benefiting.
Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou has said that government will pass a law allowing all second generation migrants the right to claim citizenship, even though SYRIZA’s coalition partner Independent Greeks has said that its MPs will not back such legislation.
The change would follow a law passed by a PASOK Socialist administration five years ago that allowed migrants’ children to claim Greek citizenship if their parents had lived legally in the country for at least five years.
But a subsequent government led by New Democracy – in which PASOK served but didn’t challenge the turn – reversed it after Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras moved against immigrants.
He was backed by the state’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, which in 2013 said the legislation was unconstitutional. There was no indication so far it would be challenged again.
Before the process was frozen, more than 25,000 applications for citizenship had been received from second generation immigrants.
Of these, 11,289 related to children that had been born in Greece and another 14,016 to children who had studied at Greek schools. Authorities only managed to process 9,998 applications before the Council of State ruling, leaving more than 15,000 cases pending.
Dimitris Christopoulos, the Vice President of the Hellenic League for Human Rights, told Kathimerini that he believes that there are some 100,000 second generation migrants in Greece.
He believes that it is vital to offer them citizenship because otherwise authorities will create “angry adults.”