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Sep 15, 2016

Hungary's border fences are helping to keep illegal immigrants out of Europe

A new fence, electronic surveillance equipment and a paved road for border police are all part of Hungary's continuing efforts to stop the flow of migrants and refugees

The Hungarian government's razor-wire border fences are helping to keep illegal immigrants out of Europe, the Associated Press reports today.

What's more, a new fence, electronic surveillance equipment and a paved road for border police are all part of Hungary's continuing efforts to stop the flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa at its southern borders.

AP writes that the government has not yet announced a timetable for the reinforced border projects, but the mayor of Asotthalom, a village on the Serbian border, said the fence built last year had already made a difference.

"Order has been practically restored in the village, which is a big achievement since migration had been causing problems for years," said a local mayor.

"It was most unbearable in 2015, when thousands of migrants a day were marching through our village, but already from September 2014 hundreds of illegal migrants a day were arriving here."

Nearly 400,000 people passed through Hungary last year, aiming to reach Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and other richer destinations in the European Union.

Since fences protected with razor wire were completed on the border with Serbia in mid-September 2015 and on the Croatian border a month later, the number of migrants entering Hungary dropped from an average of 100 a day in the first half of 2016 to around a dozen daily in the past weeks.

Reports were wide spread of migrants cutting through the fence with tools and assistance from human traffickers. But with the reinforcements they will be confronted with a new, apparently much stronger fence that will take even longer to cut through, during which time the patrols will be able to quickly get there on the paved road and apprehend the trespassers, according to local officials.

Announcing the new fence plan, PM Orbán said last month that it would be strong enough to stop even large surges of people if, for example, Turkey allows the millions of refugees there to leave for western Europe.

"If we can't do it nicely, we have to hold them back by force," the prime minister said. "And we will do it, too."