The STOP Soros Law
On June 20, 2018, National Assembly representatives from the Fidesz–Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) governing alliance and the nationalist opposition party Jobbik adopted the “amendment of certain laws connected to measures against unlawful immigration”—known as the “STOP Soros law.”¹
Representatives from liberal, socialist and green opposition parties either voted against the law or did not participate in the vote (sources A, B and C in Hungarian).
The STOP Soros law classifies the “promotion of illegal immigration” as a “misdemeanor” (vétség) that in Hungary can entail punishment of between 5 and 90 days in prison (source in Hungarian). The law identifies those who engage in the “promotion of illegal immigration” as follows (source in Hungarian):
He or she who engages in organizational activity aimed at a) making it possible to initiate right-of-asylum procedures in Hungary for an individual who is not subjected in his or her homeland, country of residence or other country through which he or she has arrived [to Hungary] to persecution due to his or her race, religion, political persuasion, national affiliation or association with a specific social group or whose fear of direct persecution is unfounded or b) enabling an individual who has illegally entered Hungary or is unlawfully residing in the country to gain legal residency status.
The Stop SOROS law prescribes imprisonment for up to one year for those who “regularly conduct organizing activity” aimed at the “promotion of illegal immigration” or who “commit the defined criminal offense in order to gain financial profit” either by “providing assistance to several individuals” or “within an eight-kilometer zone of Hungary’s external border or border marker” (source in Hungarian).
Finally, the STOP Soros law stipulates that applications for asylum in Hungary cannot be accepted if “the applicant arrived [to Hungary] via a country in which he or she is not subjected to persecution [. . .] or the danger of serious grievance or if an adequate degree of protection is insured in the country through which he or she arrived to Hungary” (source in Hungarian).
According to the official justification on the STOP Soros bill, which Interior Minister Sándor Pintér submitted to the National Assembly on May 29, 2018, the law is intended to serve the following purpose (source in Hungarian):
An action plan is needed in order to protect Hungary. The STOP Soros legislation represents such an action plan. The people of Hungary rightfully expect the government to take action using every means at its disposal against illegal immigration and activity promoting it. The STOP Soros legislation serves this purpose by making the organization of illegal immigration a punishable offense. Through this proposed legislation, we want to prevent Hungary from becoming a country of immigration.
¹National Self-Government of Germans in Hungary representative Imre Ritter and independent representative Dóra Dúró, who withdrew from Jobbik earlier in June 2018, also voted in favor of the law.