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Xenophobia and its impact on refugee policies in Hungary

The issue of #migration has moved to the core of the European political conversation since the 2015; after which #Hungary held a national referendum on proposed EU #refugee quotas.

There are two closely related characteristics of the role played by Hungary in international migration. One is the high level of #xenophobia present in Hungarian society. The second being Hungary as a transit country for #asylumseekers which is why the number of asylum seekers and refugees in the country is low in comparison to countries of Western #Europe.

Research on #media and its representation of minorities show them in a stereotypical way related to danger representations, especially concerning safety. Also, the media show that immigration as such, and the existence of asylum as a problem or as something that would threaten the citizens of the host country. As a result, the view of some citizens are that they are burden on the welfare of the state.

Due to the lack of a visible #Muslim community, hardly any Hungarians encounter #Islam in their daily lives. Islam was not so present in the public discourse before 2015. The #Islamophobic narratives that now dominate political discourse were essentially imported from Western European far-right discourse in which Islam is framed in the context of a cultural war.

NGOs in Hungary estimate the country allows in only 2 asylum-seekers per day. It has some of the strictest anti-immigration laws in Europe, and has built a 109-mile-long fence along its southern border to curb crossings from #Serbia and #Croatia.

The government often referred to asylum seekers as #economicmigrants who are coming into the country in order take the jobs of Hungarian people and this resulted in strengthening the fear of #unemployment in society. While in 2013 Hungarian citizens saw unemployment as the most serious issue the EU and its member states had to face, in 2015 immigration and terrorism were seen as the most serious problems.

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