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Greece plans to send illegal immigrants to 30 camps

Greece will soon open up the first of its planned 30 camps for illegal immigrants. Greek police are beginning 24-hour searches in Athens for illegal immigrants as well, with television crews invited.

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Policemen shout slogans during a demonstration of Greek security forces against the new austerity measures in Athens on February 28, 2012. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Greece will open the first of its planned 30 camps for illegal immigrants in about a month, the Guardian reported. Officials have so far approved construction of three detention centers.

As a result, some groups have drawn unfavorable comparisons between Greece and Nazi Germany.

"There has been fierce resistance to the concentration camp schemes by local farmers and people living in nearby villages and cities," the Workers Revolutionary Party wrote on its website

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And Kostas Agorastos, the regional governor of Thessaly, said that his region does not have an illegal immigration problem. 

"We are against this proposal, the public doesn't want it and the local authorities don't want it," Agorastos told Athens News

But the Guardian reported that 90 percent of illegal immigrants caught in the European Union each year are in Greece, with approximately 5,000 people living in abandoned buildings in the country. And in 2011, burglaries in Athens have risen 125 percent, Greek police told the Guardian.

Today police said they would begin 24-hour searches in inner-city Athens for illegal immigrants, with television crews invited to attend. The campaign has been criticized as a pre-election stunt, Athens News said.

"It's not the migrants who are responsible for rising crime, but policies that Greece is being forced to take [by the EU and IMF] that are spreading poverty, unemployment and misery," an activist told the Guardian.

Greek police deported 39 foreign nationals today, according to Athens News.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120329/greece-plans-send-illegal-immigrants-30-camps