Hungary is ready for debates about its “Stop Soros” package of bills, a senior government official said on Tuesday, noting that the government was preparing to submit the package to parliament.
The “Stop Soros” package criminalises the organisation of illegal migration, making it punishable by imprisonment.
In the debates about the bill,
the Hungarian government will consistently prioritise the country’s security interests,
Csaba Dömötör, the state secretary of the Cabinet Office, told a press conference.
Dömötör said the bill reflected the result of last month’s general election, arguing that on April 8, Hungarians had voted to protect Hungary from illegal migration.
The bill defines the promotion of illegal migration as an organised activity which illegally helps a person not in danger of persecution to submit an asylum request or to obtain a title of residence.
A sentence of a year’s imprisonment awaits anyone found guilty of financially supporting illegal migration or gaining from it financially if their activity takes place within 8km of the border. Illegal activities also include surveilling the border and soliciting, collecting or distributing data with a view to promoting illegal migration. Setting up a network to organise illegal migration is also a punishable offence.
Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has called on Hungary to withdraw the package, saying that
the legislation would deprive asylum seekers of critical aid and services, and “further inflame tense public discourse and rising xenophobic attitudes”.
In a press release, the UNHCR said it was “particularly concerned that the Government is targeting those who, in a purely humanitarian role, help people who are seeking asylum”. It called on the government “to halt any measures that would further increase the vulnerability of people who are simply looking for a safe haven”.