BUDAPEST—Hungary hardens its already-tough stance against asylum seekers on Tuesday, as lawmakers adopted the amendments of its migration laws, with 138 votes for, 22 against and six abstentions.
On March 2, Hungary had extended the countrywide state of crisis situation by six months until September 7, citing mass migration.
During the crisis period, the new and amended migration laws prevent asylum seekers from moving around the country until their applications are decided.
Asylum seekers can only present their applications in one of the so-called “transit zones”, which were built with converted shipping containers and were located along Hungary’s southern borders with Serbia.
According to the amended laws, the applicants can leave the “transit zones” only towards Serbia during the evaluation of their cases.
The amendments also cut the appeal period to just three days after the application is denied.
The new amended laws also enable Hungarian police to detain and bring back to the “transit zones” every illegal alien found deeper inside the territory of Hungary during the crisis period.
Prior to the amendments, police were only allowed to transport the illegal aliens from an 8-km wide band from the Hungarian borders.
Hungarian Minister of the Interior Sandor Pinter defended the controversial amended laws.
A great number of migrants deposited their claims to the Hungarian authorities, but moved over quickly to Western countries without waiting for their case to be assessed, he said.
With the new laws, nobody will step illegally on the soil of Hungary and the European Union, he claimed.