Cooperation with border area residents in controlling illegal migration has significantly improved - Pujats

  • 2024-03-13
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Cooperation with residents in controlling illegal migration at Latvia's border with Belarus has significantly improved lately, State Border Guard chief Guntis Pujats said Wednesday in an interview with Latvian Television. 

He said that border guards receive dozens of calls from local residents about sightings of suspicious persons in the border area. 

Pujats noted the positive effect of recently adopted legislation which has toughened punishments for aiding illegal migrants. The Border Guard chief believes that these amendments are serving their purpose and are working also preventively, deterring residents in the border area from getting involved in illegal activities.

Pujats also recalled that the Latgale District Court last week sentenced a Pakistani national to six years and one month in jail for smuggling 19 irregular migrants across the Latvian border. Pujats hopes that this sentence will serve as a timely warning to others who might have considered involvement in this illegal business. 

As reported, the pressure of illegal migration across the Latvian border from Belarus has significantly increased in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the State Border Guard prevented 12 irregular migrants from entering Latvia from Belarus, Pujats said.

So far this year, border guards have prevented attempts by 316 people to illegally enter Latvia from Belarus. Of these migrants, 236 attempted to enter Latvia in March, 75 in February and only five in January.

The Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday repeatedly decided to reinforce border surveillance in several regions from Wednesday, March 13, until September 12. The reinforced border security system will be in force in Ludza, Kraslava, Augsdaugava, Kaunata, Rezekne regions and the City of Daugavpils.

The government's decision is to ensure inviolability of the state border and to prevent any threat to the state, taking into account the increasing number of illegal attempts to cross the Latvian-Belarusian border.