Polish wall no deterrent to migrants en route from Africa, Cuba via Russia

By Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

KUZNICA, Poland (Reuters) - Poland's 5.5-metre tall steel barrier, built on its border with Belarus, was meant to be a European version of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s wall, protecting the European Union's eastern frontier from illegal migration.

But the wall, stretching about 187 kms (116 miles) and set to be equipped with motion sensors and cameras, may not be enough to halt the steady flow of people trying to cross into Poland in the hope of a better life.

Hungary's nationalist government built its own border fence after the 2015 migration crisis to stem migration from Serbia. Thousands of migrants still get through, with the help of people smugglers.

Sitting in the attic of a so-called "safe house" only a few kms away from the Polish wall in the north, Joel and Lisa, a 30-year-old married couple from Cuba said they had climbed the barrier overnight, arriving from Russia.

"It's very hard [to cross], but when you set your mind to something in life and you leave people behind who rely on you and your sacrifice, you must do your best," says Lisa, whose three children stayed behind in Cuba. She declined to give her family name.