Lawmakers allow pushback of illegal migrants at border
WARSAW: Poland’s parliament on Thursday passed a legal amendment allowing migrants to be pushed back at the border and for asylum claims made by those who entered illegally to be ignored.
Lawmakers also gave the nod to a government plan to build a wall to prevent migrants from crossing the border from Belarus.
Thousands of migrants, most of them from the Middle East, have sought in recent months to cross from Belarus into Poland or fellow EU member states Latvia and Lithuania.
Under the newly amended law, a foreigner stopped after crossing the Polish border illegally will be obliged to leave Polish territory and will be temporarily banned from entering the country for a period ranging from “six months to three years”.
The Polish authorities will also have the right “to leave unexamined” an asylum application filed by a foreigner who is stopped immediately after illegally entering, unless they have arrived from a country where their “life and freedom are threatened”.
Rights groups have already accused Poland of stopping migrants at the border and pushing them back into Belarus. Numerous NGOs have criticised Poland for imposing a state of emergency at the border, which prevents humanitarian organisations from helping migrants and prohibits access to all non-residents, including journalists.
The law change came two days after a landmark ruling from Poland’s Constitutional Court challenged the primacy of European Union law by declaring important articles in the EU treaties “incompatible” with the Polish constitution.