Local Governments in Dealing with Mass Migrations and Integration of Migrants in Hungary

Dr. István Temesi

For the understanding of local self-governments’ role in dealing with mass migration, a short presentation of local governments’ function in general and the actual situation of migration are needed. This would make possible to present what local self-governments do related to migration and especially to their integration.
In 2015, Hungary suddenly became one of the European countries strongly attached by mass immigration mainly because of the country’s geographical placement. The reaction of the Hungarian Government was unique compared to European standards. Due to political decisions Hungary physically closed their borders constructing a fence of several hundred miles and modified the legal background of immigration.
Many of Hungarian local self-governments were strongly attached by mass migration just before the central government closed the borders. Small villages along the border such as the capital city Budapest had to face against the challenge to receipt thousands of migrants. They had to manage the situation on your own because most of the public functions related migration belonged to the central government.
Nowadays, number of migrants arriving to and particularly entering Hungary are limited. The politics of the central government including the fence contributed to the reduction of asylum seekers’ number. It would be a challenge to present the role of local self-governments related to migration and integration of migrants if there had not been positive and extraordinary negative examples for how local decision makers try to react the migration issue. This paper intends to show such various and sometimes incredible solutions.