Estimates of the number of immigrants crossing into Austria from Hungary range as high as 4,000. Based on data from security forces in the region, media reports suggest this was the number that crossed overnight on September 5. Austria expects at least 10,000 immigrants to cross the border from Hungary. While Hungary refused to allow the immigrants, who are largely from Syria and Iraq, to travel via rail to Austria, the Hungarian government did provide bus transport in some instances. Thousands of other immigrants seeking refuge in Austria and Germany are on foot. Throngs of men, women, and children are ambling along highways in Hungary in order to seek acceptance in northern Europe. Every five minutes a new convoy of buses, filled with immigrants, is transferring them to waiting trains.
Nearby Slovakia, which once formed the eastern end of the now defunct Republic of Czechoslovakia, has decided to admit only Christian refugees. Interior Minister spokesman Ivan Metik explained to CNN that the government's reasoning is that there are not enough mosques in Slovakia for Muslim immigrants to worship in. Moreover, he said, there are concerns whether Muslim immigrants would want to settle down in the country. He said "That's the reason we want to mostly choose people, who really want to start a new life in Slovakia." He added, "And Slovakia as a Christian country can really help Christians from Syria to find a new home in Slovakia."
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said this week that the European Union is crazy to accept the current level of immigrants, arguing that they will dilute the continent's traditional Christian character. He wrote in an op-ed published in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe.” Orbán said “Europe’s response is madness. We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation." Moreover, said Orban, “Irresponsibility is the mark of every European politician who holds out the promise of a better life to immigrants and encourages them to leave everything behind and risk their lives in setting out for Europe. If Europe does not return to the path of common sense, it will find itself laid low in a battle for its fate.” France, Germany, Italy, are demanding a re-figuring the EU-wide policy on asylum and immigration. The current Schengen Convention, which allows passport-free travel with 26 countries of the EU, is now threatened with dissolution, observers fear.
At approximately 3:00 a.m. local time, the first bus transporting the immigrants arrived in Austria. Bearing about 100 immigrants, it came during a torrential downpour. The immigrants, while fatigued, appeared happy upon arrival. The Red Cross, as well as numerous local volunteers, are offering assistance to the immigrants.
Nickelsdorf, the small Austrian town of only 2000 residents that is just yards away from the binational border, is the latest hot spot for the current crisis in which thousands of refugees from the terror in the Mideast are seeking admittance to comparatively peaceful and wealthy Western Europe. The Red Cross has erected a reception center with a capacity for 5,000 people. Most of the recent arrivals are young men. The Red Cross provided water, hot tea, blankets, bread and chocolate. Some of the immigrants are receiving treatment for blisters and pain their feet sustained from the long walk, while others have gotten attention for diabetes and respiratory infections.
Hundreds of Austrian police are on watch. Speaking in English, police are warning the refugees to be careful in the scrum of bus traffic. One officer told the EFE news service that there is a shortage of translators. The immigrants afraid, he said, and want to leave the reception center as soon as possible. Some of the immigrants said that on a journey that lasted a month, they were treated well in Serbia but claim that they were mistreated by Hungarian authorities, despite having onward train tickets for travel to Germany and Scandinavia. One male immigrant expressed fear that his fingerprints would be recorded.
Specially chartered trains are taking immigrants every thirty minutes from the hot spot on the Austrian border to Vienna or Salzburg in the western part of the country. Approximately 1,400 refugees are being transported directly to the Austrian metropoli via bus. Many refugees are not waiting for train or bus transportation and are walking the approximately 60 miles on Highway A4 from Nickelsdorf to Vienna.
The governments of Austria and Germany have agreed to accept the refugees for the time being, having determined that they are faced with an extraordinary situation. Nonetheless, the two Germanic nations are insisting that the Dublin Regulation will apply to the refugees. The Dublin Regulation, which was formerly known as the Dublin Convention, is a European Union law that determines that EU members into which entrants initially enter are responsible for examining those seeking asylum under the umbrella of the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive. It establishes a Europe-wide fingerprinting database for unauthorized entrants to the EU.
Currently, it has been estimated that at least 160,000 persons from the Mideast have crossed into Hungary, seeking a better life in Western Europe. In the Mideast, the terror unleashed by Islamic State jihadis has meant that millions of Syrians and Iraqis have sought refugee in neighboring states, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey. However, the oil-rich kingdom of the Arabian Peninsula, including Saudi Arabia, have refused to accept any.