41 Suffolk Transnat'l L. Rev. 51 (2018)
Seeking Sanctuary across the Sea: Why the Influx of Refugees and Asylum Seekers to Greece Requires Major Policy Changes

handle is hein.journals/sujtnlr41 and id is 59 raw text is: 







SEEKING SANCTUARY ACROSS THE SEA:
   WHY THE INFLUX OF REFUGEES AND
         ASYLUM SEEKERS TO GREECE
             REQUIRES MAJOR POLICY
                          CHANGES

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

     The  Mediterranean countries on the periphery of Europe,
such  as Spain, Portugal,  Italy, and Greece,  have  received  more
than  300,000  persons  seeking international  protection  by  sea in
2016.1  Currently,   Greece   is host to  approximately 57,000 of
these individuals  who  have fled their homeland   in the hopes  of a
better, safer life in the European   Union.2   Unfortunately,  these
refugees  and   asylum  seekers  have   not found   the  haven  they
were  expecting;  instead, they are  perpetually  waiting in interim
camps   for official documentation of their status while Greece
faces criticisms for the  deplored  conditions  of these  temporary
homes.3   The  influx of refugees into the European   Union,   par-


    1. See Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response-Mediterranean: Regional Over-
view, UNHCR, http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/regional.php (last visited Nov. 13,
2016) [hereinafter Regional Overview] (listing statistical information regarding arriv-
als of refugees). In 2015, there were 1,015,078 arrivals of refugees and asylum seekers
from the Middle East and Northern Africa coming by sea. Id. October of 2015 was a
peak month for arrivals, with approximately 221,374 arrivals of refugees and asylum
seekers by sea. Id. In comparison, there were only 30,354 refugee and asylum seekers
in October of 2016. Id. The escalation of refugee and asylum seeker arrivals began in
April of 2015. Id. Scholars also refer to asylum seekers as asylees. Definition of
Asylee, MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asylee
(last visited Nov. 19, 2016).
    2. See Liz Alderman, Aid and Attention Dwindling, Migrant Crisis Intensifies in
Greece, N.Y. TIMEs (Aug. 13, 2016), www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/world/europe/mi-
grant-crisis-greece.html?_r=0 (reporting on refugee situation in Greece). At the time
of writing this piece, Greece was housing nearly 60,000 refugees. Id. While, as a
whole, Europe is an attractive destination for fleeing refugees and asylum seekers,
Greece in particular faces insurmountable waves of arrivals as a nation of first con-
tact. Id. The geographical positioning of Greece metaphorically makes the country
a gateway to the rest of the European Union, especially to the wealthier nations in the
northern portions of the continent. Id. Many refugees and asylees arrive in Greece
hoping to continue through to other European nations. Id. The Greek asylum sys-
tems are overburdened; the nation struggles to process each application as per the
laws of the European Union. Id.
    3. See id. (describing conditions of camps). The delays in the processing of asy-
lum applications and refugee status protections have led to overcrowding in the tem-
porary housing camps. Id. Greek officials initially promised a deadline of a few
weeks to complete applications of refugees staying in a camp in Idomeni, but those

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