Latvia might have to set up camps for placement of illegal migrants

  • 2021-08-10
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Considering the growing migration crisis and Covid-19 pandemic risks, the capacity of the detention centers for foreign nationals has been exhausted, so it may be necessary to set up camps for accommodation of border offenders, the Head of the State Border Guard Guntis Pujats told LETA on Monday.

On Tuesday, the government is expected to decide whether to announce an emergency which will extend the right of border guards to send migrants back to Belarus. Pujats did not specify the extent of the powers of border guard following the announcement of the state of emergency, but said that the Border Guard has defined its vision on how to solve the crisis.

“The decision of the government will set the rights and powers that will be granted to the Border Guard. The Border Guard has defined its needs for more active targeting of illegal border offenders,” said Pujuts.

Pujats confirmed that the capacity of accommodation centers for detained foreigners and other accommodation facilities at the disposal of the Border Guard has already been exhausted. There are also Covid-19 risks, Five border offenders are currently infected with Covid-19, which means that epidemiological security requirements must be met in the premises.

“It is therefore important to declare a state of emergency so that municipalities and other services can be involved in dealing with the crisis,” Pujats said.

As possible solutions, he mentioned tent accommodation, local government property, such as unused boarding schools or the National Armed Forces infrastructure. 

“The most realistic thing could be the placement of tents,” said Pujats.

As reported, during the past four days, 214 people have been detained for illegally crossing the Latvian-Belarussian border.