CALL FOR SOLIDARITY
The Citizenship Law prepared by the new Greek government is not only
« for us », but it is ours!
We, the immigrants, have been fighting for and demanding citizenship
since 2005, in solidarity with other anti-racist collectives and left-wing organizations.
We want to co-formulate this new law, to reverse the institutional racism that has been exercised by the Greek State over our bodies. We want to participate equally in the attempt to restore the democratic functions promoted by the new government.
The main pillars of our proposals are as follows: a) simplification of administrative procedures for citizenship, b) guarantee of fast and fair processing of naturalization applications, and c) elimination on inhibitory factors of the former Law 3838/2010
We put forward the following proposals that we believe should be guidelines for the new immigration law:
1. The migrant organizations should be recognized as official partners of the Greek state. They should have an institutionally recognised role as consultants for the new law on citizenship and in all legislative or other policy initiatives taken by the new government to implement a just and democratic immigration policy.
2. Many children of immigrant parents born and raised in Greece lack legal papers. The new law should provide automatic citizenship for all children of the « second generation. »
3. The austerity policies of the former government drove to thousands of migrants to lose their legal residence status, as the renewal processes were permanently delayed.
4. Therefore, the right to Greek citizenship of children born or raised in Greece should be independent of the legal status of their parents who might have lost their legal status in the above process.
5. The new law should provide the possibility of obtaining citizenship for immigrants who have legally resided in Greece for ten years.
6. The application fee to become a citizen is extremely high and results in many (including children) who are entitled to citizenship being excluded. Due to austerity measures, we have suffered intense impoverishment, and we demand a massive reduction of the fee for naturalization.
7. The current process for acquiring citizenship demands many documents that are extremely difficult to acquire. We suggest a simplification of the process. For example, documents like the birth certificate should not be absolutely necessary, since in many cases it is impossible to be recovered.
8. Since we regard diverse democratic participation, and not assimilation, as the core of citizenship, we demand the complete removal of the Greek language and culture tests that were a precondition for gaining citizenship under the law 3838/2010.
9. Additionally, we propose a clause that ensures the quick processing of applications and prevents arbitrary and unjust delays by the public administration.
10. The Supreme Court ruled Law 3838/2010 unconstitutional in 2012 and halted the progress of thousands of applications for naturalization. The new law should unfreeze these applications and mandate that they be processed.
We regard the new law as extremely important, but only as the first step to change the entire framework for inclusion of immigrants in Greece.
Inclusion should should remain a priority of the new government, both in terms of our rights, but also because this will support the social forces that are fighting against the threat of Nazism and the pervasive racism that exists in Greece.
THE MIGRANT ORGANIZATIONS:
United African Women Organization, Greece
Kasapi Hellas – Union of Filipino Migrants in Greece