Border area looks for possible migrant housing in Latvia

Ludza, Krāslava, Augšdaugava municipalities and Daugavpils city are asked to search for buildings where border offenders detained on Latvia-Belarus could be housed if necessary, but the search has not succeeded yet, Latvian Radio reported August 20.

In order to address the illegal border crossing crisis that has occurred on the border of Latvia-Belarus, the Ministry of Interior has established an Operational Management Center, which also involves local governments located in the border area. One of the issues currently being addressed is to find a suitable building where border offenders could be housed if necessary. There is still room in the accommodation center for detained foreigners in Daugavpils, but the capacity has been exhausted in the asylum seeker center Mucenieki. It cannot be predicted how the situation will evolve. It is therefore necessary to be prepared for different scenarios.

Since August 10, a total of more than 470 people have been detained for illegally crossing the country's border. For humanitarian reasons, some are not denied entry.

"Today we are talking about 14 people who have been admitted and are at this center. One has been granted asylum-seeker status, with the others, we are still working. There are children and also persons who needed medical treatment," said Interior Ministry spokesman Dimitrijs Trofimovs.

Municipalities have offered schools and other buildings but none have met the criteria yet. The building must have central heating, catering facilities, and the premises must be spacious enough to enable epidemiological safety to be observed. The State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior acknowledged that options are also being examined outside the border area.

“Geographically, it would be more beneficial from a logistical point of view that it is closer to the border, but it is clear that in a situation where, if we do not have the possibility to work in the border area, we will take the situation elsewhere. And then try to understand what it means if this facility is much farther away, how to organize those logistics. At the moment, we have expanded this geography of search,” Trofimovs said.

The ideal option would be a service hotel-type facility that would meet the requirements. In search of the building, ministries and State Real Estate have been addressed.

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