Romania braces for migrant influx
Romania is transforming into the next big gateway to Europe for desperate migrants. Nearly 500 migrants have made the dangerous 200km journey across the Black Sea.
Last week, a small boat carrying 157 migrants from Iraq and Iran was found off the Romanian coast. The coast guard also intercepted a boat with 97 migrants, including 36 children. Another fishing boat carrying 87 migrants was also discovered on September 3.
As reported by Euronews, the influx has ignited fears that Turkish smugglers are opening up a new route for illegal entry into the European Union.
The route has been used modesty in the past – just one person in 2016, according to statistics from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
Migrants entering Romania by boat are taken to a hosting area and held for up to 48 hours in order to verify their identity. If they don’t request political asylum, those caught at sea are returned to Turkey. Once the background check is completed, the immigration office steps in, sending asylum seekers to various centres across the country.
Romania police reported that 2,800 migrants were caught trying to illegally enter the country since the start of this year. This is an increase of 1,624 compared to the whole of 2016.
A spokesperson for the force told Euronews the increase is limited in comparison to other parts of Europe but that authorities had scaled up efforts to better secure and monitor the frontiers.
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