Budapest, July 6 (MTI) – Lawmakers on Monday passed amendments to several laws relating to migration and asylum.
The bill, submitted by Interior Minister Sandor Pinter last week, was adopted with 151 votes in favour and 42 against.
The new legislation will speed up procedures for assessing the claims of asylum-seekers and will allow for economic migrants to be turned back as quickly as possible.
Under the amendment, the current two-tier asylum process will be simplified by combining the two phases of investigating the asylum-seeker’s identity into a single step. The proceedings would last until a final decision is made on the request, meaning that the asylum-seeker would be detained during the entire process. A new regulation allowing asylum-seekers to be questioned at the place of confinement also aims to speed up proceedings.
The legislation will also limit the rights for those who have submitted asylum requests multiple times to stay in Hungary while their requests are being processed.
Under the amendments, parliament has granted the Hungarian state use of a strip of ten metres within the European Union’s outer Schengen borders, to ensure fast construction of a barrier along the Hungary-Serbia border.
Gergely Gulyas, deputy group leader of ruling Fidesz, said after the vote that constructing a fence in the south would also contribute to Europe’s security. Gulyas argued that similar effort in Bulgaria and Spain had reduced immigration to one-seventh of the earlier figure.
Gulyas said that while political asylum should be granted under international agreements, economic migration was “unwelcome at its current rate” and was detrimental to the “identity of European peoples”.
The opposition Egyutt party said that ruling Fidesz was “running amok” with its refugee policy and the planned fence was “inhumane”. Egyutt lawmaker Zsuzsanna Szelenyi insisted that the fence would not prevent migrants from crossing the border, while legitimate asylum seekers would be accepted just as before. The border police, however, will not be in a position to determine who is a refugee and who is an migrant, and will have to allow them all in, she argued.
The Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party said the amendments, including stipulations for the fence, violated fundamental rights. PM has asked President Janos Ader not to sign the new law. PM co-chair Timea Szabo said the legislation did not allow for appropriate legal remedy, which would result in thousands of claims being submitted to international courts by those deported from Hungary.