VIENNA – Austrian police say the number of migrants illegally entering the country from Hungary and the number of smugglers guiding them are both down for the first 3 ½ months of the year.
Police say 726 migrants without permission to enter Austria were counted so far in 2017, compared to 1,388 over a comparable period last year. They said 14 human smugglers have been detained this year, compared to 33 in 2016.
Before the so-called West Balkan route was shut in March 2016, over 1 million refugees and other migrants had traveled overland from Greece, with many entering Austria from Hungary either as a destination or a stop on the way to other wealthy countries.
Hungary has since erected formidable border fences and instituted strict patrols on its borders with Balkan neighbors