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Government plans to reintroduce border patrols

August 22nd, 2015

Columnists on Left and Right discuss the government’s plan to criminalize illegal border crossing and to deploy special police units in order to patrol the frontiers and keep illegal migrants out.

On Tuesday, János Lázár, the Cabinet Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s office, announced the government’s plans to deploy special police border guard squads to its frontier with Serbia in order to stop “increasingly aggressive” undocumented migrants crossing illegally into Hungary. The government also proposes to amend the penal code to make illegal border crossing and the damaging of the border fence a crime punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment.

On Friday, Népszabadság reported that the Hungarian government intends to criminalize border crossing so that it can immediately turn back illegal migrants crossing its Schengen borders. According to the leading left-wing daily’s unnamed sources, the government has already started preliminary consultations with the EU, behind closed doors, concerning the proposal.

Népszabadság finds it alarming that the government “is introducing ever violent elements in its fight against refugees and migrants”. The leading left-wing daily draws a parallel between the deployment of special border police and the criminalization of illegal border crossing, and the frontier patrol practices of the interwar period and the Cold War. “One can only hope that Hungarian border patrols do not want to use their weapons,” Népszabság concludes.

Writing in Magyar Hírlap, T. Gyula Máté dismisses left-wing criticism of planned border patrols by pointing out that similar proposals are on the agenda throughout Europe. In case of emergency, every European country is ready to launch police or military forces and they are being used to stem the flow of migrants, the conservative columnist claims. As the EU has so far been unable to propose meaningful solutions to issues of migration, Hungary needs to defend its borders, Máté maintains.

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