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Right: “the migration pact is already working”, “Poland is accepting migrants from Germany”. No, that's false

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“There are illegal, unidentified migrants walking on Polish streets,” warn PiS and Sovereign Poland politicians. They say that relocation under the migration pact has already started because Germany has sent us thousands of migrants “in the last few months.” We warn you: this is a false message. The Migration Pact has not entered into force and there are no relocations under it. We explain what data was used in this narrative.

For several days now, a narrative has been circulating online that, as part of the migration pact, the Polish government has already agreed to accept thousands of migrants from Germany. Some Internet users write that it is 3.5 thousand, others that it is 4 thousand. migrants. This message was eagerly picked up by politicians from Law and Justice, Sovereign Poland, and right-wing media. “The Migration Pact is already working in practice. The Germans sent 3,578 illegal migrants to Poland from January 1 to April 30, 2024. First they invited them, and now Tusk is taking over the already unwanted problem on behalf of Poland” – he was outraged on June 3 on the X platform Sebastian Kaleta from Solidarna Polska (original spelling of all posts). He repeated it a day later in Radio Zet. “Donald Tusk agrees to sending migrants to Poland. 4,000 from Germany have been accepted in the last few months,” he said. He mocked that even though Poland objected to the migration pact, “the Germans have already sent us 4,000 from themselves this year.”

Other right-wing politicians speak in a similar tone on the X platform. “So, as the media reports, they are already sending us illegal migrants from Germany? They don't even need the migration pact anymore. Horror,” he said. Błażej Poboży, advisor to President Andrzej Duda, former deputy minister of interior affairs and administration. “According to Telewizja Republika, Tusk's government has accepted 3,500 migrants relocated from Germany! The services do not want to reveal where they are,” he was outraged. Kazimierz Smoliński, PiS MP. “Did the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland refer to the disclosed information that from January 1 to April 30 this year, Germany transferred over 3,500 illegal migrants to Poland (today it will probably be about 5,000)? Why is the #Migration Pact de facto in force?” – He was asking Oskar Szafarowicz, PiS youth activist. In turn, Marcin Warchoł from Sovereign Poland alarmed on Telewizja Republika: “The fact that migrants are already coming to us and will come in unlimited numbers is becoming a fact. (…) It is an absolutely scandalous situation that illegal, unidentified migrants are walking on our streets.”

“Alarming information! Germany is sending back more and more migrants to Poland. 'On what basis are people returned to the Polish side?'” – this is the title from the wpolityce.pl website. “Poland is already accepting migrants from Germany. 'Hungry and desperate'” – warns the website of the weekly “Do Rzeczy”.

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Internet users react equally emotionally. Outraged, they write: “What right did 3.5 thousand illegal immigrants who were relocated by the Germans come to Poland?”; “The Germans have already relocated over 3,000 people from the border to Poland shortly after Tusk signed the pact. Do you feel how gigantic this will be?”; “Ask the fraudster Tusk how many immigrants the Germans have relocated to Poland since January”; “Immigrants from Germany have been arriving in Poland since January – quietly!”; “Tusk accepted 3.5 immigrants from Germany. They came to Germany, among others, from the Netherlands”; “The first 3,500 refugees have already been sent from Germany to our country. What program will you offer them? A refugee on his own?” (original spelling).

We checked what was going on.

The migration pact is not yet in force. The government did not consent

Let's start by explaining that the term “relocations”, used by United Right politicians and Internet users, is a term associated with migration pact. It was approved by the European Parliament in April 2024, and a month later – with the opposition of Poland and Hungary – it was done by the Council of the European Union. The new regulations are intended to distribute responsibility for managing migration in the EU among all member states. However, there is no obligation to accept refugees. There is a mechanism of mandatory solidarity, which assumes the annual deployment of at least 30,000 people in the Member States, but alternatively, EU countries will be able to pay 20,000. euro for each person not admitted or take part in operations at the EU's external borders. The European Commission will decide on the degree of countries' involvement in the solidarity mechanism, taking into account, among others, the number of inhabitants and GDP of member countries. Countries will be able to apply to the EC for exemption from participation in the mechanism, citing migration pressure at home as a reason. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson emphasized in previous statements that, given that Poland accepted Ukrainians, she would be partially or completely exempt from participation.

For now, the migration pact is not yet in force. It will only come into force in 2026. Therefore, Donald Tusk's government could not agree to admitting migrants, and they cannot be admitted to Poland under the migration pact, because the mechanism of mandatory solidarity simply does not work yet.

The statements quoted above about the pact and the relocation of illegal migrants are therefore untrue.

Where does the number come from? Journalist's entry. Expert: “normal practice used for years”

As we have verified, the dissemination of this type of content began with a post on the X platform, which she published on June 3 Aleksandra Fedorska, journalist of Radio Wnet. “We have the numbers!!!! Where, where is our Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration, where are the Polish media when they have their work to do!!!!!! The German Federal Police answers my question: During from January 1 to April 30, 2024 The federal police registered a total of 5,621 people who illegally crossed the Polish-German border. Of them 3,578 people were returned to Poland” – Fedorska announced (we have kept the original spelling and boldface). In subsequent entries, she wondered what the legal basis for the German police's actions was and that the idea was that the Germans could send any number of unwanted migrants to Poland. “Relocation in practice,” she concluded.

It is worth noting that she wrote clearly that these were people who, after illegally crossing the Polish-German border (i.e. came from Poland), were returned to Poland by the German police. Later, this was distorted and the word “relocated” was used, which is clearly associated with the migration pact and accepting refugees. That's why part of it Internet userswhich detected the fake message, reassured that “a U-turn is not the same as a transfer”.

Professor Robert Grzeszczak, head of the Center for Research on the European Union System at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw, explains in an interview with Konkret24 that the turning back of refugees from the border by the German police has nothing to do with the migration pact. – Such U-turns are a normal practice used for years by various countries based on international and EU law. German police catch refugees when they enter a country illegally and then return them to the country they came from – explain.

We do not know either the procedure or the nationality of those people who have already been to Poland

However, it is not yet known who these people are, because they also cross the German border. e.g. Ukrainians. The press spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard, Lt. Col. SG Andrzej Juźwiak, in an interview with Konkret24, draws attention to certain ambiguities regarding the data from the journalist's post. – First of all, it is worth determining which foreigners this applies to, what nationality they are, where and how they reached Germany. Or maybe it's about those who were refused entry to Germany. It is also necessary to distinguish between turning back and handing over a person. Transfer is a situation where a foreigner was previously subject to the asylum procedure in Poland, went to Germany and was detained there. In this case, the return probably concerns refusal of entry, i.e. a situation when a person does not meet the entry and stay conditions – explains Lt. Col. Juźwiak.

Therefore, the statements repeated online and by politicians that: “they are sending us illegal migrants from Germany”, “Poland is already accepting migrants from Germany” or “immigrants from Germany have been arriving in Poland since January” are certainly untrue.

We asked the German police to explain what and which people the number 3578 refers to (i.e. how they got back to Poland). A Bundespolizei officer confirmed to us by phone the authenticity of the number in Fedorska's post. He said that we will receive detailed data and explanations, including a breakdown of the people returned to Poland by nationality, but we have not received them yet before the text is published.

Main photo source: PAP/Marcin Obara

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