Recent reports from the Latvian State Border Guard have highlighted an alarming trend of third-country nationals attempting to use Riga’s Airport for illegal departures. The situation has become so serious that 26 asylum seekers have been apprehended at the airport’s border inspection post while trying to travel to other EU countries using false or someone else’s documents.
The detained individuals were mainly headed to France, Germany, and the Netherlands, as reported by the Latvian Public Broadcaster. In addition, several asylum seekers were identified at the Schengen terminal in Latvia, attempting to leave only with asylum seekers’ documents.
The State Border Guard of Latvia has noted that many third-country nationals entering the country illegally or seeking asylum after crossing the Latvian-Belarusian State border are not planning to stay long term. Instead, they are using Latvia as a transit country to reach other EU Member States. Last year alone, Latvian authorities recorded 1,529 such cases.
In response to this concerning trend, the border guards have announced plans to increase passenger profiling at the Schengen terminal in Riga airport and the sea ports of Riga and Ventspils to prevent illegal state border crossings. They also plan to implement immigration control measures near internal borders.
Authorities have already made progress in identifying individuals violating borders, both externally and within the country. Specifically, they detected nine trespassers at the external borders, with entry into Latvia being refused for two of them.
The Latvian State Border Guard has further reported identifying a citizen of Kyrgyzstan lacking a valid visa or residence permit at the Terehova Border Control Point. This individual has faced administrative liability for their actions.
These developments have caused Latvian authorities to take assertive measures related to illegal immigration. Recently, they have begun sending letters to Russians who do not meet residency requirements, asking them to leave the country. Additionally, Latvia, along with Estonia and Lithuania, has announced the possibility of closing their borders with Russia amid fears of a potential migrant surge.
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