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Scaling the Wall

Hungary's Migration Debate

A barbed wire is seen in front of a European Union flag at an immigration reception centre in Bicske, Hungary June 25, 2015.  Laszlo Balogh / Reuters

In the wake of widespread political upheaval, Hungary has been on the receiving end of an unprecedented flow of migrants. According to the European border agency Frontex, an estimated 67,000 people have tried to illegally cross Hungary's border between January and June 2015, a figure nearly ten times higher than during the same period in 2014. Most of the migrants came from Kosovo (35 percent), but a large number of them came from Afghanistan (26 percent) and Syria (20 percent) as well. During the summer months, migrants are increasingly coming from conflict zones: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Hungary has not faced a refugee crisis this large since the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, when Hungarian authorities had to handle close to 50,000 asylum seekers in 1991 alone. While right now the number of people coming to Hungary is much higher, most of them want only to travel through the country; during the Yugoslav Wars, most refugees wished to

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