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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivering a speech. Photo: Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images

At least 85 people have attempted to enter the United States under false identities using authentic Hungarian passports obtained via a program designed to grant ethnic Hungarians abroad citizenship, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Why it matters: The security vulnerability could allow criminals — like human traffickers and drug smugglers — to enter the U.S. undetected. It also could be utilized on a larger scale, perhaps by Russia or a terrorist group like ISIS.

By the numbers:

  • About 700 non-Hungarians obtained Hungarian passports and assumed the identities of original passport holders.
  • At least 85 of those people attempted to travel to the U.S. — and 65 of them successfully entered the country.
  • DHS deported more than half, but 30 still remained in the U.S. as of October.

How it happened, per the report by WaPo's John Hudson and Andras Petho:

  • "DHS officials say they believe criminals obtained the authentic passports by exploiting a Hungarian government program that allows ethnic Hungarians who live outside the country to obtain citizenship in an expedited manner."
  • "Citizens of Hungary, a member of the European Union, are eligible for visa-free travel to the United States."
  • "U.S. officials believe criminals came into possession of some of the passports belonging to new citizens and sold them to customers who then assumed new identities to travel to different countries under false pretenses."

The move was a political one for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán:

  • "In 2010, Orban’s conservative government said the new system would help strengthen ties with the Hungarian diaspora living in the territories that Hungary lost to the neighboring countries as the result of the peace treaty after World War I."
  • "Since the law took effect in 2011, the more than 1 million new citizens living outside Hungary’s borders have rewarded Orban politically. Besides the opportunity to obtain passports, they were given the right to vote in Hungary’s general election."
  • "Voting data shows that an overwhelming majority has supported Orban’s Fidesz party."

Go deeper on the hardline immigration policies in Orbán's Hungary.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.