German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is reportedly backing the introduction of border controls with Poland in response to a surge of migrants passing through the country and heading to Germany.
Over the weekend, an estimated 500 migrants crossed illegally from Poland into Germany, likely passing through Poland after crossing into the country from Belarus, a new hot-point in the ongoing Europe migrant crisis.
From Friday to Sunday, police in Brandenburg managed to pick up 288 migrants, mostly from Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Yemen.
Following a letter from the German Federal Police Union, Interior Minister Seehofer has reportedly discussed with the Federal Police the possibility of enacting temporary border controls to stem the flow of migrants, according to information obtained by the German tabloid, Bild.
Chairman of the Federal Police Union Heiko Teggatz had reportedly demanded border controls be enacted, writing to Mr Seehofer: “For several months, the number of apprehensions has been rising almost explosively.” Mr Teggatz also said that numbers were approaching levels seen in the years prior to the 2015 migrant crisis on the Austrian border.
“Our colleagues are also exposed to a considerable health risk, as SARS-Cov-2 [Covid-19] infections, especially in the migrants’ countries of origin (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, etc.), are still very high and are very rarely detected by the authorities,” Teggatz added.
The Polish government has sent at least 31,000 text messages to migrants near its border with Belarus telling them to go back to Minsk, stating that the Polish border is closed. https://t.co/DOEgoApJOX
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) October 3, 2021
According to Bild, by the end of September of this year, Germany has seen at least 100,000 new asylum applications from migrants.
Migrants are still entering Poland illegally from Belarus, despite the Polish government declaring a state of emergency in the regions that border the country last month.
Last week, the Polish parliament went even further, passing a law that will allow Polish border guards to turn away migrants at the border and push them back to Belarus. The law also allows Polish authorities to ignore asylum claims from migrants who have entered the country illegally.
Poland will also build a new barrier across the border with Belarus, which is estimated to cost around €353 million and will be outfitted with “a surveillance system of cameras and movement sensors”, according to Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski.
Tensions between western Europe and Belarus have risen over recent months as many, including the European Union, have accused Belarus of helping migrants cross into EU member states illegally, with some reports that Belarusian authorities have forced migrants to cross at gunpoint.
Tensions were further heightened over the weekend as Belarus expelled French ambassador Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste.