The Romanian border police decided to strengthen the operational units tasked with monitoring and protecting the Hungarian-Romanian border in order to curb illegal migration, authorities announced in Bucharest.
Joint patrols with the Hungarian side are being coordinated on the Romanian-Hungarian border section in Romania’s western Arad, Bihar and Szatmár counties, which are adjacent to Hungary. The law enforcement units will be deployed gradually depending on the operational situation. From now on, units with police dogs will also participate in stopping and sometimes searching vehicles looking to exit at road border-crossings.
Hungary’s southern border ‘under siege’
The number of illegal entry attempts into Hungary so far this year has risen by 90 percent versus the same period in 2021
In the first eight months of the year, the Romanian border police arrested 10,916 border violators, of whom 7,028 arrived in Romania illegally, while 3,888 tried to leave the country illegally, mainly to Hungary. Last year, when more border violators were caught on Romania’s borders than ever before, the annual report of the Romanian border police mentioned 15,390 border violations, compared with 10,586 in 2020.
Although the number of apprehended border violators has already exceeded the figure for 2020 in the first eight months, and does not predict a significant decrease compared to last year’s record, the Romanian border police highlighted in its statement on Friday that fewer people smugglers have been apprehended so far than in the same period last year: 351 compared to 427 recorded in the first eight months of 2021, and instead of 580, only 480 criminal proceedings were initiated on suspicion of people smuggling.
According to the Romanian border police, the majority of illegal migrants caught at the Hungarian border are already registered asylum seekers in Romania. Border violators usually hide in trucks heading towards the national border at rest areas on the highway. Drivers now check after each rest stop whether there is anyone in the cargo area or undercarriage of their vehicle; they also check if the truck’s tarpaulin has been opened. If a stowaway is discovered, they are required to immediately notify the nearest branch of the border police.
The risks for people smugglers are high, as the charge of people smuggling in Romania carries a sentence of 3 to 10 years.