Has Hungary Gotten a 'Bad Rap' on Migrant Crisis?
ROSKE, Hungary -- The massive wave of illegal migrants entering Europe has changed direction. Instead of attempting to transit Hungary, the migrants are now looking for alternative routes to Germany.
And they're becoming desperate, violently confronting police at the borders of Hungary and Croatia.
There was chaos at the edge of Europe as Hungarian police responded with tear gas to stop migrants from storming a border fence.
"Baby. Baby gassing. Baby, problem," Syrian refugee Mohammed Mahsun told CBN News, gesturing to indicate gas spraying.
One group of migrants camped out on the Serbian side of the border after Hungary closed the crossing earlier this week. Instead of seeking legal access or alternative routes to Germany, some demanded immediate access to Hungary.
"We came and our goal is to cross the border," Zahed Charkari, a migrant from Afghanistan, said. "Yes, we will stay here until we cross the border. There is no alternative."
Hungary closed its borders because it requires prior approval and processing to enter the country. Hungarian border police have stepped up their patrols to stop illegal entry and even Hungarian army troops are helping secure their country's border.
There are still some gaps in the 100-mile fence along the Serbian-Hungarian border. But it's unlikely anyone would dare get through the razor wire, which would cut them severely.
Many migrants are seeking an alternative route, traveling through Serbia and illegally entering Croatia. From there, they hope to go on to Austria and finally, cross into Germany.
"What we are trying to do is to fulfill our duty to defend Hungary's -- and therefore the Schengen Zone's -- borders, apply the rule of law as it should be applied by all member states, and as a matter of fact we are being criticized for doing that," Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told CBN News.
The 29 European Union states require migrants to be registered at the first E.U. point of entry. Greece has not done that so Hungary -- and now Croatia -- are attempting to do so.
While some E.U. states allow open travel, countries on the periphery, like Hungary and Croatia, must check migrants before they can cross into those areas.
Kovacs believes Hungary has gotten a bad rap. He said his country is simply following the rules and protecting Europe.
"The sheer number is a security risk and especially these people are coming from conflict zones. You never know -- even if they are fleeing for their life whether they have fought before in a civil war in Iraq or in Syria. Obviously this is a very, very serious security risk," Kovacs explained.
European leaders plan to meet soon to discuss emergency measures, including possible migration quotas for each member state.
In the meantime, what does Hungary ask of Americans?
"Don't ask from Hungary -- or any other European country -- a thing that you wouldn't do, that is, letting in people without any control or discipline," Zoltan said.