As far as the European Union is concerned, deporting asylum seekers breaks the business model used by people smugglers. It has also emerged that many people have been forced back without their bags or official documents and for those lucky enough to have a cell phone to contact family members — have had them confiscated by Turkish authorities.
"The EU spins the deportations for Greece as 'breaking the cruel business model of smugglers,' even though many refugees see smugglers as a lifeline to safety. Indeed, absent rights safeguards in Turkey and Greece, the EU deal is cruel in its own right, and a violation of international law," Fred Abrahams, associate director at Human Rights Watch said.
Since April 4, the EU's border agency Frontex has deported 375 people from three islands; the same border agency that replaced the search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean in October 2014.
The European Union policy to scale back its rescue mission has been accused of being complicit in the number of migrant deaths at sea in a recent report titled 'Death by Rescue.'
Meanwhile, migrants stuck on the country's border with Macedonia have a somewhat clearer idea.
Asylum seekers in Idomeni have been handed a letter from the Greek Ministry of Interior by police saying that the borders "will remain closed," and instructing people in Idomeni to move to "camps run by the Greek state, in a fast and coordinated way, under the responsibility of the Greek authorities."
Violence has repeatedly broken out at the makeshift camp in Idomeni between different groups of refugees and asylum seekers — and police.
They now have no choice but to leave and register at and four new camps in Thessaloniki.
But for the thousands other migrants stuck in asylum processing centers on mainland Greece, who arrived before the controversial deal with Turkey was made, their destiny remains in limbo.