ALEXANDROUPOLIS, Greece — At the train station here, an unshaven man with a weary look leaned against the brick wall of a building, taking in the morning sun.
He said that his name was Zulifoar Baht; that he was 38, from Pakistan; and that his train for Athens would not arrive until midafternoon. So there was nothing to do but wait, along with a dozen or so other illegal immigrants who had finally made it into Greece from Turkey, crossing one of the most porous borders in Europe.
The 126-mile border between Turkey, which is not in theEuropean Union, and Greece, which is, has become the back door to the European Union, making member countries ever more resentful as a tide of immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa continues to grow.Frontex, the European Union’s border policing agency, estimated that a vast majority of the crossings in 2011 occurred at the Greece-Turkey border. Last year, Frontex said, more than 55,000 people crossed the border, a 17 percent rise from the year before.