Last year, over 400,000 refugees entered Europe through Hungary. The vast majority of those migrants were unskilled young men with no knowledge of any European language. Most crossed into Hungary through the Serbian border on their way to Northern Europe, where welfare benefits are generous.
The results were disastrous for Hungary. Much of the Hungarian countryside was destroyed by this massive invasion of refugees. Hundreds of farms were destroyed and turned into make-shift squatter camps. The government tried in vain to get food, water, and shelter to help the migrants, but this only encouraged more refugees to arrive behind them. Crime among the swarms of these angry, frustrated men was rampant. Hungarian police were often viciously attacked by the travelers with rocks, sticks, knives, and other crude weapons.
Last fall, Hungary decided to built a 100 mile barbed wire fence along its border with Serbia. This created a great deal of criticism from human rights organizations, like Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW protested that these migrants were being forced back to Serbia, in some cases with cruel and violent treatment, without consideration of their claims for protection.
Nonetheless, the new barbed wire fence successfully helped bring down the number of migrants from Serbia to only 18,000 so far in 2016.
Now, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced that another, higher, far more restrictive fence will be erected along additional sections of the Serbian border. And armed border guards will be stationed all along the fence. He sternly told Hungary’s Public Radio, “We will have to stop them with force, and we will do so!”
Hungary’s border patrol officers have used tear gas against migrants trying to break through the border fence last year, and Orban said they will continue to do so.
As expected, human rights groups are howling. They claim that such border measures do not comply with European Union laws. Nonetheless, Hungarian officials say the border fence construction will proceed immediately.
Of course, it is easy for human rights organizations to criticize border control when they are not responsible for the costs of caring for the migrants and all the property damage they cause.
Do you think Hungary has the right to build this dangerous border fence along its border? Do you think the United States can learn from Hungary’s border fence? Share your thoughts in the comments section.