An amendment has entered into force, introducing provisions according to which a foreigner detained immediately after an illegal crossing of the border will have to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland by the decision of the commanding officer of the Border Guard. The amendment also added a premise for the refugee application not to be examined.
On Tuesday, an amendment introducing regulations came into force, according to which a foreigner who was detained immediately after having illegally crossed the external border of the EU (with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine), by the decision of the commanding officer of the Border Guard post, will be obliged to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland and be temporarily banned from entering Poland and the countries of the Schengen Area. The entry ban will be issued for a period from 6 months to 3 years. For this period, the foreigner’s data will be included in the list of foreigners whose stay in Poland is undesirable and in the Schengen Information System for the purposes of refusing entry. The decision of the Border Guard Commandant will be subject to a complaint to the Border Guard Commander in Chief, but it will not suspend the execution of the decision.
The amendment to the act on foreigners and some other acts, prepared by the Ministry of Interior and Administration, was published in the Journal of Laws. The amendment entered into force on the day following its announcement. Therefore, from Tuesday, new regulations apply, inter alia, foreigners apprehended immediately after illegally crossing the external border of the EU (with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine).
The application for international protection may not be examined
The amendment also introduces a provision to the Act on granting protection to foreigners in Poland. According to it, the Head of the Office for Foreigners will be able to leave the application for international protection without examination, if it was submitted by the detained foreigner immediately after the illegal crossing of the external border of the EU, unless the foreigner “came directly from the territory where his life or freedom there was a risk of persecution or the risk of serious harm, and presented credible reasons for illegal entry into the territory of the Republic of Poland and submitted an application for international protection immediately after crossing the border. “
In the justification to the draft of this act, it was emphasized that the provision would not oblige the Head of the Office to leave such an application without examination. In such a situation, the Head of the Office will act at the administrative discretion and will have the right to choose the decision. Until now, applications for international protection were left without examination if they did not contain the applicant’s name and surname or the indication of the country of origin.
Imprisonment or fines for damaging border infrastructure
The amendment also changes the law on the protection of the state border, introducing prison sentences or fines for destroying border infrastructure. These are, in particular, fences, barriers, barriers or gates. A person who “takes, destroys, damages, removes, moves or renders unusable elements of infrastructure located in the border zone and intended for the protection of the state border, in particular fences, barriers, barriers or barriers”, will be subject to imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years. In the case of a minor, the perpetrator will be liable to a fine.
Pursuant to the transitional provision, the hitherto provisions will apply to proceedings on the obligation of a foreigner to return, initiated on the basis of the Act on foreigners and not completed before the effective date of the Act.
Act in the Sejm and Senate
The Sejm passed the law on September 17, and on October 14 considered the amendments introduced by the Senate to it. Two of these amendments were of a technical nature and were adopted by the Sejm. On the other hand, the third amendment – which the Sejm rejected – assumed that “if the decision to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland concerns a foreigner who has crossed the border in violation of the law together with a minor child of whom he is a parent, the submission of a complaint suspends the execution of this decision”. President Andrzej Duda signed the amendment to the act on foreigners and some other acts on Thursday, October 21.
State of emergency
A state of emergency has been in force on the border zone since September 2. Journalists and activists from non-governmental organizations, among others, are not allowed there. All available information comes from the Border Guard and government officials. The state of emergency, initially introduced for 30 days, was extended from October 1 for a further 60 days. According to the government, the migration crisis at the border is caused by the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Belarus’s actions are called a “hybrid war against Poland”.
Main photo source: TVN24