German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he was prepared to increase the number of federal police officers at the Polish border to help fight the growing number of illegal immigrants from Belarus.
Seehofer told the Bild am Sonntag that 800 federal police officers had already been deployed at the border and others could arrive “if necessary”.
There are normally no passport or border checks when traveling from one country to another in the 26-member Schengen area of Europe, but these checks can be temporarily restored in the event of a threat.
The number of migrants trying to enter the European Union illegally through Belarus has risen sharply in recent months, with the border countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia holding the bulk of the influx.
Germany’s border with Poland, on the other hand, has become a hotspot for illegal migration through what is called the “Belarus route” to the EU. German police said there had been 1,922 crossings between October 1 and 20 alone.
Immigrants often come from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Iran.
Seehofer recently proposed joint German-Polish border patrols, but Warsaw has so far been unprepared.
EU leaders have accused Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the passage of migrants from countries such as Iraq and then sending them to the bloc’s external border with Belarus.
In late May, Lukashenko announced that his government would no longer prevent migrants from traveling to the EU in response to tougher Western sanctions.
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