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Migration still in focus

August 10th, 2017

A left-wing and a liberal commentator accuse the government of fomenting anti-immigrant hysteria. A pro-government columnist welcomes the government’s announcement to offer asylum to an Iranian Christian girl facing deportation from Sweden.

Migration Aid, an NGO offering help to immigrants, is preparing to host families that have already been granted asylum at Lake Balaton for a short holiday at the property of an Austrian individual. Local Fidesz Mayors have harshly criticised the plan. Fidesz MP Jenő Manninger speculated in a Facebook post that the short holiday might be part of what he called as ‘the Soros plan to settle migrants in the region – a reference to government allegations that the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist George Soros is somehow to blame for the refugee influx to Europe. He added that Hungarians are willing to help refugees who flee war zones, but oppose economic migration.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss accuses Fidesz of fomenting anti-immigrant hysteria. The left-wing columnist fears that the anti-immigrant propaganda and conspiracy theories of Fidesz politicians will incite anti-immigrant hatred – or even physical violence that the government will no longer be able to control.

On Index.hu, Ádám Kolosi also thinks that the government’s rhetoric fuels anti-immigrant sentiments in Hungary. Without mentioning the case of the refugee holiday organized by Migration Aid, the liberal pundit recalls that, according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center on global security threat perceptions, Hungarians consider migrants as the number one threat. As there are no refugee masses arriving in the country, heightened fears can only be explained by the government’s anti-immigrant politics, Kolosi contends.

In Magyar Idők, Zsolt Bayer welcomes the government’s announcement that it will offer refugee status to Aideen Strandsson, an Iranian Christian woman who was denied asylum in Sweden. Strandsson arrived in Sweden in 2014 on a work visa after converting to Christianity. Her asylum application was rejected twice, and now she is to be deported. Strandsson fears that her deportation to Iran would put her life in imminent danger as Christians are persecuted in Iran. Bayer finds it nauseating that “Sweden accepts everyone, including Muslims, blacks, economic migrants, Jihadists as well as IS recruits, and tolerate everyone except Christians, white Europeans.” The pro-government commentator known for his anti-immigration opinions thinks that the Hungarian government’s decision to offer asylum to Strandsson shows that Hungary is willing to help real refugees – while it does not want to accept economic migrants. Bayer even offers to host Strandsson in his own home and take care of her if she decides to file an application for asylum in Hungary.