ATHENS, Greece — Nikos Odubitan’s friends see him as the quintessential Greek, and not just because he has one of the most common Greek first names.
He gestures like a Greek and argues like a Greek. He uses both the slang of his generation and obscure words of ancient origin. Weaving through Athens traffic on his motorbike, he greets local business owners and the odd classmate with an informal “ελα, ρε!” which means something like, “Hey, there.”
But Odubitan is not a Greek cien and until Nov. 18, when the coalition government introduced a new bill that would change citizenship requirements, had few prospects of becoming one. Although he was born in Athens in 1981, his parents are Nigerian. As a result, he, like an estimated 200,000 others with foreign-born parents, has been effectively disqualified from citizenship. That means he can’t vote or work and travel freely within the European Union, and if he doesn’t renew his visa on time, he becomes undocumented.