December brought a significant rise in the number of illegal entry attempts to Hungary which continued during the long New Year weekend, data from national Hungarian police showed . The week before Christmas from Dec. 14 to Dec. 20 showed the largest number of detected illegal crossing attempts, mainly on the Serbian border to the south and the Romanian one to the east. During that week, police and border guards foiled 1,326 crossing attempts and led another 1,490 people back to the country where they entered from, bringing the combined number to 2,816, compared with an average of around 800 per week during the entire year and a low of just three attempts and 23 apprehended violators in the third month of April, during the severe lockdown during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. police.hu Weekly illegal border crossing attempts into Hungary in 2020.
During the long weekend leading into the New Year’s alone, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 3, police and border guards stopped 506 entry attempts, and while we are only halfway through the first week of 2021, the numbers continue to remain high. In the first minutes of Wednesday, police apprehended a minivan in the village of Nyírmihálydi near the Romanian border driven by a 29-year-old Romanian national, with 16 illegal entrants. All of them claimed to be Syrian, but had no documents to support that. The immigrants have been detained pending an investigation while the driver will be charged with people smuggling, carrying a sentence of up to five years, or even eight years given aggravating circumstances such as having been committed as part of organized crime activity. On Monday, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said that the pandemic and migration will be the biggest challenges of the year. “We will continue to defend ourselves against illegal migration both at the southern border and in Brussels,” Szijjártó said.
Title image: 28 illegal migrants found in the cargo of a Turkish registration lorry in November. (source: police.hu)