STA, 17 September 2019 - Slovenia keeps seeing a surge in illegal migration with the latest police data showing that the number of illegal crossings peaked at 2,352 in August, the highest monthly figure since the 2015-16 refugee crisis.
In the first eight months of the year, police registered 9,801 instances of people trying to cross illegally into the country, which compares to 5,899 in the whole last year.
In most of the cases the migrants were citizens of Pakistan (2,344), followed by Algerians (1,427) and Afghanis (1,064).
The largest number of cases was handled by the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments (3,310, 2,672 and 1,975, respectively.
The migrants filed 2,577 petitions for asylum between January and the end of August this year, almost 500 more than in the whole of 2018.
Of the 2,475 petitions whose processing has been completed, asylum status was granted to 49 migrants.
Slovenian police returned 6,533 migrants to foreign law enforcement authorities (2,411 in the whole of 2018), while foreign police forces returned 461 migrants to Slovenia (372 in the 12 months of 2018).
STA, 12 September 2019 - A sports journalist of the commercial broadcaster POP TV was apprehended last Sunday by the Slovenian police on the border with Croatia under suspicion of smuggling illegal migrants to Slovenia.
Reporting on the incident on its web portal 24ur.com on Thursday, POP TV condemned and distanced itself from the actions by the journalist, who has already been dismissed.
The Ljubljana-based private broadcaster regretted the incident and explained that it had not been acquainted with the acts by the journalist committed outside his job and that it had not been aware of the possible personal circumstances he had found himself in.
POP TV condemned any violations of regulations, adding that, as smuggling and assistance in smuggling migrants across the border with Croatia was on the rise, it would continue to report extensively on the "abuse of the distress of refugees and of the victims of smuggling".
STA, 12 September 2019 - Two Serbians smuggling a dozen illegal migrants were arrested early morning on Thursday following a car chase of at least 10 kilometres. When the car was forced to a stop, the police found ten Pakistanis and two Indians cramped in the back seat.
The police tried to pull the car over just outside the town of Ljutomer in northeast Slovenia, but the driver continued driving at high speed in the direction of the motorway, the Murska Sobota Police Administration said.
This started a car chase that ended when the car driven by one of the Serbians crashed into the police car and then hit the safety rail on the motorway, according to the police.
The press release does not specify how long the chase lasted, but the nearest motorway entrance is some 10 kilometres away from the location where the police spotted the suspicious car.
The man in the passenger seat escaped the car but was tracked down by the police. The Serbian citizens were both detained and will be charged with smuggling illegal migrants, which carries a sentence of up to five years and a fine.
All our stories on illegal migration can be found here
STA, 5 September 2019 - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar is known for saying the Slovenian police are fully in control of migration. "If this was not the case, we would have more illegal migrants in the country, at railway stations, cities and abandoned buildings," he told the STA. He said the country was cooperating well with Croatia and Italy.
"Slovenia being a safe country is a fact confirmed by international comparisons and many countries envy us on this," Poklukar said in an interview with the STA.
He believes that the statistics on the foreigners apprehended prove that police are on top of things.
Slovenia has apprehended more than 9,600 people this year and some 460 persons have been returned to Slovenia from Austria, Italy and Hungary. Poklukar believes this shows that only few people avoid being caught.
He pointed to the beefed up security measures such as additional fences on the border and high resolution systems of video- and thermal cameras.
According to the minister, police are also successfully preventing migrant smuggling by individuals and criminal rings mostly from the Balkans and Slovenia.
Investigators have formed special task forces to deal with this and police are cooperating well with Frontex, Europol and Interpol.
Poklukar also praised cooperation with other countries. Cooperation with Croatia has improved significantly since the 2015 and 2016 mass migrations, he said.
Slovenian police officers are cooperating in mixed patrols with Croatian and Italian counterparts. The deal on the mixed patrols with Italy envisages such cooperation until the end of September.
"We are evaluating the situation on a daily basis and I have found them to be successfully preventing illegal human trafficking," Poklukar said about the patrols.
He is confident that the success of Slovenian police will be recognised by Italy. He reiterated Slovenia opposed a fence on the Slovenian-Italian border for historical reasons and because it would disturb the lives of locals.
The country is also bothered by the fact that Austria continues to conduct controls on its border with Slovenia, an issue Poklukar plans to discuss with his Austrian counterpart in Ljubljana next Monday.
According to the minister, Slovenian police are also monitoring the migration flow in Balkan countries, in particular in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and are helping protect the borders in Serbia and North Macedonia.
Four new police attaches are to be deployed to Skopje, Rome, Zagreb and Vienna shortly.
Asked whether the mass influx of migrants such as the one Europe witnessed a few years ago could happen again, Poklukar said that there was some fear that the migration flow would enhance every autumn due to upcoming winter but not in the scope as in 2015 and 2016.
He said Slovenia was ready for a potential influx and expected Croatia to protect the EU's external border as efficiently as Slovenia is protecting the Schengen border.
STA, 27 August - The police apprehended on Monday two migrant smugglers transporting a total of 38 migrants in two vehicles in the Kočevje and Cerknica areas in south Slovenia.
Nearby the town of Kočevje the police apprehended on Monday morning a Romanian driver transporting 31 migrants in a van.
According to the Ljubljana Police Department, police officers stopped the van following a local's tip-off and apprehended the driver upon discovering his human cargo. None of the 31 migrants has requested for international protection.
Meanwhile, a Lithuanian was caught in the vicinity of Cerknica on Monday evening trying to smuggle seven Afghanistan citizens who have illegally crossed the border and are still being processed.
The Novo Mesto police department meanwhile reported on Tuesday the capture of two smugglers transporting larger groups of migrants.
Nearby Črnomelj in the south, the police caught an Italian who was transporting 34 Pakistani and Afghan migrants in a single van on Monday afternoon.
Moreover, a Slovenian citizen was apprehended at Mokrice in south-eastern Slovenia on Sunday evening transporting five Kurdish illegal migrants with Turkish citizenship. He has been placed in detention.
STA, 7 August 2019 - The government decided on Wednesday to extend the deployment of auxiliary police to help the regular force cope with a spike in illegal migration on the Schengen border with Croatia and with other duties.
In line with today's decision, auxiliary police will be deployed until the end of the year to help patrol the border and stand in for absent regular police officers.
Under the valid legislation, auxiliary police may be called in for up to 30 days in a calendar year.
Only about 70% of police force jobs are filled on average, while illegal migration is on the rise, the government said.
It also noted a deterioration in road safety and the engagement of larger numbers of police officers in providing the security at a number of upcoming high-risk events such as a meeting of the NATO Military Committee, and the VIP Forum 2019 to be held in Ljubljana in September.
Security challenges will be stepped up later on in the year, so there is reason to expect an increased scope of duties in various areas of police work.
This is why most of the auxiliary police have already been engaged to help secure the border or stand in for regular police officers providing the security at high-risk events.
Some 460 auxiliary police have already been called in this year and they have already completed about a third of the 30 day-quota on average.
All our stories on the borders are here
STA, 20 July 2019 - Koper police apprehended on Friday over 120 migrants in the Ilirska Bistrica area close the southern border with Croatia's and the western border with Italy. Most of the migrants, the bulk of which are Afghan citizens, will be returned to Croatia today.
The Koper Police Administration said it discovered several small camps in the woods near Šembije on Friday afternoon. Reinforcements, police dogs and a helicopter were called in as the migrants started to flee.
Police have assessed that the group numbers around 200 in total and the search continues, with 122 people apprehended so far.
Most of them, 94, are Afghan citizens, while 27 are either from Pakistan or Bangladesh. Most will be returned to Croatia today. At least five of the migrants are minors and have been taken to an asylum centre.
STA, 18 July 2019 - The Slovenian government has adopted a framework migrations strategy that addresses both legal migrations as a major source of much needed labour, as well as illegal migrations as a source of security threats and challenges with regard to integration.
The strategy, the first such document in Slovenia, deals with migrations "over a long-term horizon in a multi-faceted and comprehensive way, prioritising a better understanding of all aspects of migrations," the government said on Twitter on Thursday.
In illegal migrations, Slovenia plans to focus on fast verification of eligibility for international protection, effective return of such persons, and elimination of sources of risk to national security.
The government says that "orderly and safe" migrations are beneficial for everyone, while illegal migrations "threaten the lives, security, health and basic human rights of migrants" and fan anti-immigration sentiment in recipient countries.
For legal migrations, the strategy aims to focus on eliminating structural imbalances on the labour market by attracting foreign workers as well as adopting concrete measures to entice Slovenians who have moved abroad to return.
The document was drafted by a task force that included ministries, law enforcement and intelligence services and will be followed up by action plans as well as a more detailed strategy for economic migrations.
Non-governmental organisations dealing with migrations welcomed the adoption the strategy and said they had been involved in the drafting of the document. Nevertheless, they said additional stakeholders should have been involved as well.
It would have made sense to involve trade unions, academia, and local government, said Katarina Bervar Sternad of PIC, a platform that offers legal advice to NGOs.
The document is an improvement on the original blueprint but involving more stakeholders would have given it a more long-term perspective on the challenges and opportunities that migrations bring, she told the STA.
STA, 17 July 2019 - More than 4,300 Slovenian citizens and some 24,100 foreigners immigrated to Slovenia last year, with the total share of Slovenia's population growth attributable to immigrants being the highest since 2008 - there were almost 15,000 more immigrants than emigrants, shows the Statistics Office data released on Wednesday.
Almost 6,600 Slovenians and more than 6,900 foreigners emigrated in 2018.
The share of immigrants increased by 51% last year compared to 2017, while the share of emigrants dropped by 23%.
The population growth attributable to Slovenian immigrants was negative for the 19th consecutive year - Slovenian emigrants exceeded Slovenian immigrants by almost 2,250 persons, while the immigration trend of foreigners remained positive for the 20th consecutive year.
Most foreigners who came to Slovenia (almost 50%) hailed from Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by citizens from Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Croatia.
On the other hand, Slovenians returning back to the native country usually migrated from Germany and Austria (24% and 17%, respectively), followed by Switzerland, the UK and Italy.
A quarter of Slovenians who moved out of the country in 2018 went to Austria, with the rest emigrating to Germany, Switzerland and Croatia.
Most foreigners who left Slovenia behind moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina (24%), Germany, Serbia and Croatia.
Slovenia's internal migrations decreased by some 7% in 2018 on the previous year, totalling almost 104,000 changes of residence (some 89,500 Slovenians and around 14,500 foreigners).
Almost half of people moving within the country were aged 20-39 years, with the majority (80%) moving to another municipality.
Foreigners were again more mobile than Slovenians - among the former, one out of ten moved at least once in 2018 on average, while one Slovenian out of 24 changed the place of residence on average.
More details on these figures can be found here
STA, 5 July 2019 - The police continues to detect a rising trend in the number of illegal crossings of the Slovenian border, with the number standing at 5,345 in the first half of the year or 47.1% more than in the same period in 2018. There is an increasing number of illegal migrants from Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco.
The biggest number of illegal crossings of the borders in the first half of the year was processed by police officers from the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments.
By the end of June, 2,718 of illegal migrants expressed the intention to ask for international protection, which is 7.5% less than in the first half of 2018 (2,355).
According to the latest report, migrants who express the intention to ask for international protection frequently continue on their way to their actual target countries after being accommodated in asylum centres.
In the first half of the year, police officers recorded 355 cases in which foreigners crossed an internal Schengen border to Slovenia without valid documents or permits, which is 13.2% less than in the same period in 2018.
Pakistanis accounted for the most of such illegal entries, while they also dominate the statistics of illegal crossings of the external Schengen border.
A majority of such cases were recorded on the Slovenian border with Italy (226). The police notes that this is a relatively small number of cases, with the number of illegal entries on the border with Italy having dropped.
A total of 2,178 third country nationals were denied entry at border crossings for failing to meet the conditions to enter Slovenia or other EU countries, which is 10.8% more than in the first half of 2018.
Most of them were rejected on the border crossings with Croatia, and the biggest number of them were citizens of Afghanistan, followed by citizens of the Balkan countries.
The number of foreigners who were processed because they were not permitted to reside in Slovenia or other EU countries increased by almost a third to 2,728.
A majority of the cases related to expired residency permits, mostly involving citizens of the Western Balkan countries. An increasing number of Moldovan citizens are also being processed for this reason, as a consequence of visa liberalisation.
Slovenian police officers returned a total of 3,534 foreigners to the authorities of neighbouring countries in the first half of the year (up from 1,174), most of them to the Croatian authorities.
Foreign authorities meanwhile returned 333 persons to Slovenia in this period, including 23 Slovenian citizens, the report says.
Mladina: Slovenia has short-sighted migration policy
STA, 17 May 2019 - Commenting on the migration situation, the weekly Mladina says in Friday's editorial that the government of Marjan Šarec is continuing the short-sighted policy of the previous government of Miro Cerar by increasing the number of police officers and soldiers on the border, setting up more fence an preventing asylum requests.
"However, it does not have the courage to set up reception centres and face the migration flow, process these people and determine who meets the conditions [to stay in the country] and who does not, help them integrate or return them to their countries if they are not danger zones - in short, what this country was actually doing before the 2015 refugee wave," says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.
The number of crossings of the border and asylum requests has not risen so much. "We have seen all this before and dealt with it for decades - but now we have closed the borders and thus turned refugees into illegal migrants and pushed them to city streets, outskirts of villages and forests."
We have no idea how many of them are moving illegally across the country or waiting for transport out of the country in Ljubljana, Repovž says.
We also have no idea how many people are illegally transporting refugees or provide them with shelters in exchange for money, or how many supply them with food. That is the reality, according to Repovž.
As soon as a country starts breaking the law, it has a hard time demanding from others to respect international law.
"And that is what is our biggest mistake. We know that refugees in Croatia have no rights. That they are being illegally transported to Bosnia-Herzegovina. By copying these patterns, we are losing the opportunity to demand the respect of European asylum rules from our neighbour," Repovž says under the headline More Fences, More Soldiers, More Cops.
Demokracija: Critical of govt's inaction after abduction
STA, 16 May 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija is critical of the government after an elderly man was abducted by a group of illegal migrants who stole his car to reach the border with Italy.
"Pro-migrant activists and the agitprop of mainstream media launched a theory that Moravec was not abducted, that the abduction had been staged for the purpose of EU election campaign."
It is horrifying how far some politicians, pro-migrant mouthpieces and agitprop Bolsheviks have gone.
Instead of condemning the abduction and promising to do anything in their power to prevent something like this from happening again, the left has decided to criminalise the victims.
What is more, they labelled the protest in which locals expressed their concern a rally of intolerance and hate speech. It is incomprehensible that people even have to take to the streets for the government to start following the rules.
"We need to make it clear: It's been enough! If the government fails to guarantee security and respect for its own laws, the people have the right to protect their property and lives themselves!" the weekly says under the headline Hostage and Soros's Devil's Advocates.