Hungarian MPs have voted overwhelmingly to detain all asylum seekers in camps at its border in what they see as a bid to crack down on allowing terrorists into Europe.
After the vote, prime minister Viktor Orban called immigration “the Trojan horse of terrorism”. He has now ordered the construction of a double fence on his country’s border with Serbia.
Under the new rules, all asylum seekers entering Hungary, as well as those already in the country, will be sent to camps built from converted shipping containers while their applications are processed. Anyone who passed through a “safe third country” including Serbia will be rejected and appeals will be heard within three days. Migrants who are rejected may have to cover the cost of their detention.
During the migrant crisis of 2015, more than 400,000 people passed through Hungary trying to get to western Europe. Since then, razor-wire fences have been introduced, dramatically reducing the number of arrivals. So far this year 1,004 people have applied for asylum in Hungary.
The UN Refugee agency said the move was a breach of international obligations. But Orban said at a swearing-in ceremony in Budapest for border police: “If the world sees that we can defend our borders . . . then no one will try to come to Hungary illegally. Migration is the Trojan wooden horse of terrorism. Those readying for the journey do not want to live according to our ways and culture but according to their own, only with a European quality of life.”