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Hungary promises taxes and jail terms to deter immigrant helpers

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Hungary promises taxes and jail terms to deter immigrant helpers

Hungary promises taxes and jail terms to deter immigrant helpers
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Hungary is to step up its anti-immigration measures with a new 25 percent special tax on aid groups which support migration and jail terms for those convicted of helping immigrants stay in the country.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has been among the most hostile to immigration in Europe and was re-elected in a landslide victory in April on a pledge to crack down on NGOs which it says undermines Europe's integrity by supporting migrants.

It says it needs to introduce the tax because creating a defence against illegal immigration creates a significant burden on the national budget.

The human rights body the Council of Europe is set to give an opinion on the legality of the bill on Friday, but the Hungarian government says it will not wait to hear what they have to say.

A previous version of the bill had targetted foreign backed NGOs, but that clause has now been dropped.

GULYÁS GERGELY, who works as a minister directly accountable to Orban, said the solution to migration would be through the better protection of European borders.

"Reception hotspots must be established outside the EU", he said. "There should be a decision made on someone's refugee status. Europe must be able to defend both its land and sea borders."

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto said that his government was protecting his country from a George Soros backed immigration front that includes the European Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights