Posted on May 31, 2018

Hungary’s ‘Stop Soros’ Bill Proposes Jail Time for People Trying to Help Illegal Migrants Stay in the Country

George Martin, Daily Mail, May 31, 2018

Hungary has put forward controversial proposals to hand out jail sentences to citizens caught assisting illegal migrants.

The new legislation has been called the ‘Stop Soros’ bill by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban — a name derived from George Soros, an Hungarian-American philanthropist who pledges thousands each year to help migrants.

The bill suggests that individuals or organizations that help migrants submit requests for asylum when they are not entitled to protection be punished with up to a year in prison.

Prime Minister Orban, who won a landslide election victory last month, has repeatedly accused Soros and his organisation of encouraging migrants to try and gain entry to the country.

Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) recently announced it would be moving to Germany, leaving behind what it called ‘an increasingly repressive political and legal environment’ in Hungary.

‘The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union,’ OSF president Patrick Gaspard said in a statement last month.

The text of the ‘Stop Soros’ bill and posted on parliament’s website, said: ‘Those who provide financial means … or conduct this organisational activity (for illegal immigration) on a regular basis will be punishable with up to one year in prison.’

‘We need an action plan to defend Hungary and this is the STOP Soros package of bills,’ the interior ministry said in a comment accompanying the legislation.

It said there were international and also Hungarian organisations helping the entry of illegal migrants to Hungary, adding: ‘Sanctioning these is justified.’ It did not name any groups.

The new ‘Stop Soros’ bill no longer contains a 25 percent tax that its previous version in February wanted to impose on foreign donations to non-governmental organisations that back migration.

The government has said the bill intends to deter illegal immigration Orban says is eroding European stability, and risks undermining Hungary’s Christian culture.

While more than one million mainly Muslim migrants have entered the EU since 2015, few have sought to settle in Hungary.

Official data show that in 2017 a total of 1,291 migrants obtained some form of international protection in Hungary, mostly Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis recognised as refugees.