Illegal immigration figures down, Austrian fears not borne out

THE NUMBER of immigrants found attempting to enter Slovakia illegally has dropped significantly from last year. In the first half of 2007, 1,637 immigrants were detained at the Slovak border, compared to 1,114 taken into custody in the first half of this year, the SITA newswire reported, citing Interior Ministry statistics.

THE NUMBER of immigrants found attempting to enter Slovakia illegally has dropped significantly from last year. In the first half of 2007, 1,637 immigrants were detained at the Slovak border, compared to 1,114 taken into custody in the first half of this year, the SITA newswire reported, citing Interior Ministry statistics.

In 2007, 3,405 persons attempted to illegally enter the territory of the Slovak Republic, down 724 from 2006.

Last year, some EU countries, especially Austria, expressed concerns that crime rates would rise as a result of illegal immigration after Slovakia joined the Schengen zone in December. However, these concerns have not materialised.

Austrian Interior Minister Marie Fekter admitted that contrary to these dark predictions, the crime rate decreased about 6 percent across Austria, and in border regions near Slovakia, crime has dropped 17 percent.

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