With a sprint of Olympic standards, the management of illegal immigrants climbed to the top of positive indicators of the government, overcoming all obstacles within a year: lack of confidence, distrust and a frustration of expectations.
The key to launch this policy field was the radical revision of the national policy, with the competent ministry rolling up its sleeves, literally catching the thread from the beginning.
The government’s immigration file is evolving, disproving even the most pessimistic, namely the drastic settlement of one of the most complex, political and social issues of the 21st century.
On the one hand, the transnational implications of the problem, and on the other hand, the images that Greek society has experienced in the recent past, with immigrants in central parts of Athens without infrastructure and plan, on the other.
It eroded any public belief in a strong political will to the substantive treatment of the issue, a collective impression that the Mitsotakis government inherited from its very first days.
Indicative of the lack of perspective towards the immigration issue was the fact that the government performances brought a positive sign (even in difficult sectors, such as the economy, taxation and security)..
In the best cases, the positive opinions about the management of immigrants by the government reached 10%, with citizens discounting that the current government would follow the footsteps of SYRIZA, bringing about subtle changes in its management, a view that was expressed en masse in the answers of the majority of respondents in most polls.
Reversing the forecast, however, the positive opinions about Immigration now reach 35%, with the record high being recorded in the last Pulse poll for SKAI, where 40% of the respondents stated that New Democracy government can better address the issue, compared to 21% who answered “a SYRIZA government.”
The turning point was in 2020, when the change of perspective began to unfold across the spectrum, with the government promoting simultaneous drastic changes in many different directions.
The social pressure, after all, from the image of chaos radiated from immigration housing structures, but also the ever-increasing flows, had narrowed the time margins for intervention by the government.
A few days after New Democracy took power and in the islands – mainly in the Northeast Aegean – the situation deteriorated, with the summer of 2019 signaling an alarm in Athens for a complete redesign of the national immigration policy.
Signs of reversal of the negative image reflected by the country due to immigration began to be seen from mid-January 2020, when it was decided to re-establish the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, as the center of gravity and coordination for actions to address the problem.
However, government intervention became more pronounced when the first, reduced flows of illegal immigrants began to be recorded.