In October, police officers caught as many as 5,446 migrants crossing the border illegally, compared to 926 the previous October. In the time period from January to October, police officers caught 21,467 migrants, compared to 8,222 in the same time period last year. However, the returning of migrants to Croatia has deteriorated slightly. This is shown by the statistical data recently published by the Ministry of the Interior. Usually, the data was published about a week earlier in the month. It seems that this time they waited until the end of the vote of no confidence in the National Assembly against the Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar, who was there defending the policy of tearing down the fence at the Southern border, explaining that the police can do the job of protecting Slovenians without technical obstacles that were erected during the time of the government of Miro Cerar. She also said that the coalition is in agreement on this issue.
However, data do not show that what the Minister has claimed before MPs is true. In fact, the opposite is true. The dramatic increase in the number of migrants entering the country has been evident in recent months, and especially last month. This is the result of the open-door policy of the government of the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje svoboda), the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD) and the Left party (Levica), which publicly announced that it would tear down the border fence and would have the same attitude towards refugees from Ukraine and towards economic migrants who are being smuggled to Slovenia in large numbers from
distant countries via the Balkans, and whose destination is usually Italy (and then Germany). The government’s announcements were seen by the migrant smugglers as a boost for their business, and by the countries in the Balkans as an opportunity to reduce their migrant problems before the winter. Many migrants have thus made their way to Slovenia.
Way fewer returns to Croatia
Compared to last year, the numbers of migrants counted by police officers (they do not manage to count all of them who come here), are much higher. In January of this year, the number was 707, while last year, it was 313. In February, it was 448, compared to last year’s 345. In March, it was 933, while last year, it was 482. In April, it was 1,072 (531 last year), in May, it was 1,269 (795 last year), 1,785 in June (956 last year), 2,278 in July (1,130 last year), 2,278 in August (1,362 last year), 4,472 in September (1,346 last year), and 5,446 in October (962 last year).
This year, police officers most often caught the citizens of Burundi crossing the border, who were almost non-existent in this area last year, and the citizens of Afghanistan, who were already coming here in large numbers last year. However, the number of migrants from India has also increased quite dramatically. The statistics only show migrants who were caught by the police after having smuggled themselves across the border by bypassing border crossing points. Some of them completely evade surveillance when they are being smuggled westwards. It is difficult to estimate how many of them there are. The Koper Police Directorate (55.6 percent) and the Novo mesto Police Directorate (29.6 percent) have dealt with the highest number of illegal crossings this year. The data on countries of origin of the migrants that were caught are as follows: 3,830 of them came from Burundi, 3,587 from Afghanistan, 2,627 from India, 1,906 from Pakistan, 1,851 from Bangladesh, 1,082 from Iraq, 941 from Turkey, 785 from Iran, 751 from Cuba, 582 from Nepal, and 3,525 from other countries.
However, with the dramatic increase in illegal entries to the country, the statistics show a deterioration in the number of migrants being returned to other countries. Namely, 2,193 foreigners were returned to our neighbouring countries this year, which is 37.3 percent less than last year, when 3,495 people were returned in the same period. The majority of foreigners are, of course, returned to Croatia. You can read more about this (in Slovenian) on the web portal “Spletni časopis” (“Online Newspaper”)