Recently I read this article with the following quote:

But Hungary acted this week to stop the huge flow of people, sealing off its border with Serbia with a razor-wire fence and making it a crime to enter the country illegally.

I'm wondering why it was not a crime previously to cross the borders illegally. If this was not a crime, doesn't this made crossing the borders illegally an "empty box"?

  • I'm not a lawyer, but I would think this opposed the free movement of people, a fundamental freedom of the EU contracts. – sebix Sep 26 '15 at 18:41
  • @sebix: but Serbia is not part of the EU. In that perspective the Hungarian-Serbian border is a border of the EU as well. So you are not moving within the EU. – Willem Van Onsem Sep 28 '15 at 12:25
  • Yeah, i thought about Slovenia, sry. And that fence is already being removed or it's in progress. – sebix Sep 28 '15 at 19:39

In the US it is not a crime to be in the country illegally.

As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States.

Arizona v US

So it's illegal, you get a state induced consequence (deportation) but it doesn't make you a criminal e.g. you don't go to jail for it.

I have no idea if that's what's going on over there but it's a plausible explanation.

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    Being in the country illegally may not be a crime under US law. Entering the country illegally, however, is (and that's what this question is about). See 8 USC 1325 (a), describing the crime usually called "illegal entry". It's a Class B misdemeanor, I believe. – Nate Eldredge Sep 19 '15 at 4:42
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    The question was about the EU and especially Hungary, not the US. That's a totally other jurisdiction. – sebix Sep 26 '15 at 18:35
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    @sebix yes, you totally missed the point. I was providing an example of something which is illegal but not criminal. – jqning Sep 26 '15 at 22:17

I would put that down to bad wording of the article. As you mention it would be a crime if you did anything illegally.

  • That is not true. Many things that are illegal without being a crime. Breaking a contract is illegal; it's not a crime. – Dale M Sep 19 '15 at 0:41
  • @DaleM is illegal really the correct word to describe breaking a contract. I think of illegal as something that violates a law or rule; something with a government-enforceable repercussion. If you break a contract the state doesn't care. However there are other non-criminal activity that are illegal and open us up to sanction by the government. Like violating a building code. – jqning Sep 19 '15 at 3:35
  • @jqning illegal simply means contrary to the law; breaking a contract is contrary to the law – Dale M Sep 19 '15 at 4:30

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