Recent reports from the Romanian border police indicate that the number of illegal border crossing attempts into Hungary is rising fast.
Migrants using the Balkan route can go as far as Serbia, but crossing the Serbian-Hungarian border is very difficult. On the portion of the border featuring land, there is a temporary fence which migrants have trouble crossing. In addition, both the Hungarian Border Police and the Armed Forces have increased personnel patrolling the area in recent months while the Tisza River on the two countries’ border is now patrolled by a minesweeper boat retasked to protect the border.
Due Hungary’s effective border security along the Serbian border, this has pressured migrants to seek an alternative route, mainly through Romania.
In addition, some refugees from the Middle East and Africa enter Romania through Bulgaria or the Black Sea ports of the country and either try to make their way directly to Western Europe or do so after applying for asylum in Romania.
According to data of the Hungarian Police, in the first three weeks of 2020, the number of illegal border crossing attempts for the year was 3,247, which is six times as high as the 541 cases reported in the same period of 2019.
Over the weekend, Romanian border police were forced to fire warning shots after it became the only option to stop two Tunisian men, aged 29 and 38, near the village of Óvár (Oar in Romanian) in the northwestern part of the country.
Last Friday, a group of nine migrants from Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Somalia were apprehended attempting to cross the border in the Arad region of the border with Hungary.
Romanian border police said the seven men and two women, aged 21 to 52, have submitted asylum applications in the country. They were aided by two Romanian citizens in the illegal border crossing attempt who have also been detained and charged with human trafficking.
Title image: A group of nine illegal immigrants detained on the Romanian-Hungarian border (source: Romanian Border Police)