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Hungary Tightens Asylum System

Illegal migrants walk toward the city center next to the fence around the refugee camp in Debrecen, 221 kms from Budapest, July 1, 2015.

Hungary's parliament has approved amendments tightening the country's asylum system, a response to the record number of migrants and refugees reaching the country over the past year.

The plan, sharply criticized by the U.N.'s refugee agency, was approved Monday by lawmakers from the governing Fidesz party, its Christian Democrat allies and the far-right Jobbik party.

The new rules will allow authorities to cancel asylum requests if the petitioners leave their designated residence for more than 48 hours without authorization, and will prolong the detention of asylum seekers.

Lawmakers also approved a proposal facilitating the government's plan of building a 4-meter (13-foot) -high fence on the border with Serbia to stem the flow of migrants and refugees.

Nearly 72,000 migrants have reached Hungary so far this year.