The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, has been condemned as an autocrat-in-the making. Since taking power in 2010, he has begun to restrict freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Nevertheless, while he was here on an official visit with President Trump, our President praised him:
‘Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways,’ Trump said before a private meeting with him in the Oval Office. ‘Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s okay … You’ve done a good job and you’ve kept your country safe.’
At least one reason that President Trump spoke so highly of Orban is due to his accomplishing one thing that Trump has been stymied in doing: completing a border wall:
Hungary’s 96-mile long, 14-foot tall double-line fence includes several layers of razor-wire capable of delivering electric shocks. The barrier features cameras, heat sensors and loudspeakers ready to tell migrants they’re about to break Hungarian law if they as much as touch the fence, the DC report said.
Nearly every police officer in Hungary is part of a rotation to monitor the border fence at all times. Temporary military bases house the police while they do their rotation.
Additionally, Hungary will train and pay more than 1,000 volunteers to deploy as ‘border hunters.’
Illegals who are caught are arrested and dropped off on the Serbian side of the fence. They don’t get a chance to apply for asylum unless they do so at a ‘transit zone’ where they are held in housing containers while their cases get processed, the report said.
Orban has also been aggressive about stopping illegal immigration into Hungary.
The Hungarian Parliament passed a new law called “STOP Soros” that will send people and groups to prison for helping migrants submit requests for asylum, and who illegally help people to gain legal status to stay in the country. Orban has accused George Soros of funding organizations in these efforts in a strategy to destabilize Europe; George Soros denies this claim.
I know that Hungary is a much smaller country with a smaller border to protect; it also has a significantly smaller population:
Hungarian statistics show 3,555 refugees living in Hungary, a country of 10 million, as of April.
Only 342 people were registered as asylum seekers in the first four months of this year, mostly from the Middle East, and 279 were approved.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a rights group that often represents migrants, said on Wednesday the narrowing definition of who counts as a refugee essentially means nobody entering Hungary by land would be entitled to such treatment.
Viktor Orban has been defying the EU’s demanding for admitting migrants, particularly since the huge migrant inflow in 2015.
Hungary is a much different country than ours: its Parliament is in alignment with Orban. They have supported him in restrictions on speech, assembly, the judiciary and migration. I wouldn’t want our country in any way to resemble the governance of Hungary, nor do I think we’d be able to pass some of the laws restricting people from giving advice on seeking asylum.
But I wonder if there are some things we can learn from the Hungarians about protecting the borders and ensuring the security of this country?