Hungary has managed to slash immigration by 99% after erecting powerful border defences in response to the European migrant crisis. Hungary’s wall could serve as an indicator for the success of President Trump’s much discussed southern wall in the U.S.
On the second anniversary of the decision to erect the wall, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Chief Security Advisor, György Bakondi, announced that the fences have caused illegal immigration to drastically drop. In 2015, when the wall was commissioned immigration was at 391,000, this number dropped to 18,236 in 2016 and is now at an all time low of 1,184.
“The system of technical barriers is the key to the success of border security, and without it, it would be impossible to stop the mass arrival of immigrants”, the security chief explained
Hungary like many European nations, had to respond quickly during the European migrant crisis, in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced there was no limit on the number of asylum seekers her country would accept.
However, the wall is not popular amongst European union and United Nations officials. Billionaire financier George Soros has voiced his disapproval of the wall also.
For example, UN Refugee Agency chief Filippo Grandi visited the border and complained: “When I was standing at the border fence today, I felt the entire system is designed to keep people, many of whom are fleeing war and persecution, out of the country”.
On arrival at the wall, asylum seekers and those wishing to illegally cross the border are greeted by loudspeakers giving notices in different languages.
“Attention, attention. I‘m warning you that you are at the Hungarian border,” the loudspeakers say in English, Arabic and Farsi from the new barrier.
“If you damage the fence, cross illegally, or attempt to cross, it’s counted to be a crime in Hungary. I‘m warning you to hold back from committing this crime. You can submit your asylum application at the transit zone.”
“Transit zones” are two border posts where a total of just 10 migrants per day are allowed in legally. Rights groups say the zones are highly inadequate and to some extent illegal.