BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary will send several thousand police officers to the southern border with Serbia in a new effort to stem the rising flow of migrants, the government said Tuesday.
Hungary is "under an organized attack" by human traffickers who aren't only transporting migrants but instructing them about how to abuse the European Union's refugee system, said Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff.
Lazar said police units of "border hunters" would be organized to step up against the "increasingly aggressive migrants arriving with more resolute demands."
Around 130,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, already about three times as many as in 2014. Most request asylum but quickly leave for richer countries in the EU like Germany and Sweden.
Lazar said that planned penal code amendments would soon make illegal border crossings and cutting through the 4-meter (13-foot) high fence being built on the 174-kilometer (109-mile) border with Serbia punishable by several years in prison. A special parliamentary session to approve the amendments could be held before the end of August, Lazar added.
Lazar reiterated that the first phase of the temporary border fence — several layers of razor wire rolls laid out near ground level— would be completed by the end of the month and said that construction of the second, higher fence was going "full steam ahead."
Police have been detaining an average of 1,500 migrants a day for the past several weeks, including 2,087 on Sunday, the highest figure so far this year.