Migrant Crisis: Austria passes controversial new law imposing tougher measures on asylum
Apr 28, 2016 05:28 AM EDT
Austria passed a controversial new law that allows tougher measures on asylum for migrants and refugees. It imposes that police may reject claimants directly at the border to control the influx of people passing through the country.
According to Euronews, the Austrian government passed a controversial new asylum law only days after a far-right politician won the first round of presidential elections. The new law may significantly limit the surge of refugees from war-torn countries into the nation.
This also allows border police to turn away potential asylum claimants directly at the border without processing individual requests. It was reported that only refugees who may be at risk of persecution should they return to their respective countries may be considered passage into Austria.
According to the Guardian, the Interior Ministry is expected to enforce the new asylum law by the end of June despite it having to pass through the country's second parliamentary chamber for formalities.
A spokesman from the Interior Ministry said, "People making applications for asylum at the borders with Italy, Hungary and Slovenia would not get permission to enter Austrian territory... If they make it into Austria they would be brought to registration centers and there the authorities would start the procedure to send them back to the neighboring countries that they came from."
Austria is the latest European nation to join Denmark, Hungary, Sweden and Greece in passing stricter asylum laws following the massive surge of refugees into their territories. According to BBC, Austria is also considering building a 400 meter fence between its territory and neighboring Italy.
Helmut Tomac, the police chief in Tyrol, said that the project would depend on Italy's willingness to cooperate. However, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi expressed his concern that a fence may go against European law.
The new asylum law earned backlash for its apparent negation of human rights. Amnesty Europe director Gauri van Gulik said, "These amendments are a glaring attempt to keep people out of Austria and its asylum system."
However, Austrian authorities defended that they were left with no choice but to control the influx of migrants and refugees as this left the nation vulnerable to security threats and possible breakdown of public order.