On Wednesday, the Hungarian parliament approved a number of bills which would criminalize some kinds of assistance given to illegal immigrants and result in jail terms for violators.
According to Reuters, the legislation, better known by its nickname “STOP Soros”, would result in “individuals or groups who help migrants not entitled to protection to submit requests for asylum or who help illegal migrants gain status to stay in Hungary will be liable to prison terms.”
Reuters reports that in a written justification attached to the draft legislation, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter declared that: “The Hungarian people rightfully expects the government to use all means necessary to combat illegal immigration and the activities that aid it.”
Pinter further stated: “The STOP Soros package of bills serves that goal, making the organisation of illegal immigration a criminal offence. We want to use the bills to stop Hungary from becoming a country of immigrants.”
However, opponents of the legislation, including the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which receives the majority of its funding (34%) from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, argue that the new legislation will further narrow the definition of who gets refugee status. Marta Pardavi, Co-Chair of the Helsinki Committee asserts that “Instead of giving protection against persecution, the Hungarian government has decided to join the ranks of the persecutors.”
Disobedient Media has previously covered the influence of immigration activists and NGOs in Hungary, primarily funded by George Soros and his Open Society Foundation, which has helped lead to a record number of 1.2 million first time asylum claims in EU Member States.
However, the Hungarian-American billionaire has denied charges of encouraging mass immigration, despite leaked memorandum from his Foundation titled “Open Society Foundations – International Migration Initiative” proving otherwise.
Previously, the Hungarian Government erected a border fence to combat the flow of illegal immigrants. According to Hungary’s Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. György Bakondi, the border fence has been an incredible success, reducing the number of successful attempts to illegally cross the border fell from “391,000 in 2015 to 18,236 in 2016 and only 1,184 in 2017.”
Despite the passage of the new law, the Hungarian government expects possible legal action by the two leading European rights bodies, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Venice Commission.
Disobedient Media will continue to follow this story as it develops.