When other countries welcomed refugees with open arms, Hungary decided it was time to eradicate illegal immigration at any cost.
The country succeeded, but that success damaged relations with the European Union in the process.
Hungary’s second border fence has just been completed in the southern town of Asotthalom. The 96-mile long, 14 ft. tall double-line of defense doesn’t look too intimidating from a distance. Go a little closer and you’ll notice several layers of razor-wire capable of delivering electric shocks, cameras, heat sensors and loudspeakers ready to tell migrants they’re about to break Hungarian law if they as much as touch the fence.
Add a few hundred military officers and “border hunters” and it’s virtually impossible to break.
Close to every police officer in the country is part of a rotation to make sure the grounds are covered at all times. Temporary military bases have been set up by the border to house them while they do their rotation.
More than 1,000 volunteers will receive generous salary and benefit packages when they deploy as “border hunters” after extensive training. The area surrounding the fence is closed off for the public. Visitors need to apply for access in advance and photos of guards and the Serbian side are strictly prohibited for security purposes.
If a migrant is lucky enough to make it across, local guards patrol the surrounding area around the clock. The ones who are caught are arrested and dropped off on the Serbian side. They don’t even get a chance to apply for asylum unless they do so at a “transit zone” where they are held in housing containers while their cases get processed.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants to make it impossible for uninvited guests to make it across the border, no matter the numbers they arrive in, and it appears as though he has succeeded.
“They don’t even try,” a local border guard tells The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We haven’t had a Syrian in six months.”
Rewind back to September 2015 and there’s a completely different picture. Thousands of migrants streamed across the border every day as they made their way north to Austria, Germany and Scandinavia.
“It was an invasion,” Laszlo Toroczkai, the mayor of Asotthalom, told TheDCNF. “Illegal immigration is a crime in a normal country. It’s not a normal thing to break into a country.”
Toroczkai decided to start a war on illegal immigration. He wanted a fence, and the government agreed.
“The real public mood was: hang on this is not good, you should do something,” Zoltan Kovacs, a spokesman for the Hungarian government, told TheDCNF. “You should at least have the ability to handle what’s going on.”
While Hungary is far from the final destination for most migrants, its location along the so-called “Balkan route” made it a natural pit stop for hundreds of thousands of people pursuing a life in western Europe.
Kovacs describes the fence as “an act of solidarity” toward the rest of the EU. By stopping migrants from entering the country, Hungary argues it keeps immigrants out of the entire 28-nation bloc. The government expected other countries to offer assistance, but the help never came.
“Instead we’ve received only political barrage and charges that we are inhumane and stuff like that,” Kovacs said.
Source: Daily Caller