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Bulgaria erects fence to stop illegal immigrants

July 17, 2014

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria has installed a barbed-wire fence on its southern border in an effort to block an influx of immigrants into the EU’s poorest member state.

The 33-kilometer- (20-mile-) long, 3-meter- (10-foot-) high fence, completed Thursday, has brought the number of illegal arrivals down to 300 per month from 2,000 people per month last fall.

Last year Bulgaria was caught unprepared by a surge of 11,600 refugees, mainly Syrians — 10 times the annual number of asylum seekers before the Syria war.

While officials are proud of the “iron guard” on the 275-kilometer (170-mile) border with Turkey, rights agencies have criticized Bulgaria and other EU members for denying access to people in need before they can apply for refugee status.

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