Description: English/Nat

Situated in southeastern Europe, bordering Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria, Romania is at the crossroads of one of the continent's main illegal immigration routes.

During the last few years, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Asia and the former U-S-S-R pass through Romania in order to reach Western Europe.

Over the past 12 months, Romanian police have intensified their border patrols, arresting over 1-thousand- 600 illegal immigrants.

And a total of 40-thousand- most from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sri Lanka- were prevented from entering the country.

But it's a tough operation.

Romanian immigration police have to cover more then 2-thousand- 500 kms of border, parts of it remote and difficult to patrol.

Brussels has urged Romania to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across its borders.

But despite promises from the European Community (E-U) to bolster Romanian border police with logistics and technology, funding is slow in coming.

However, there are signs that the Romanian authorities are getting to grips with the problem.

Romania has restructured its border authorities in accordance with European Commission directives.

And last week it dismissed 28 region police commanders and top officers, accused of bad management and corruption.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"We are going from Afghanistan to Romania, for a stay."
SUPER CAPTION: Afghan illegal immigrant

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