A mother hugs her children after disembarking as migrants and refugees arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on November 15, 2015
Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images
By Eliana Dockterman
November 25, 2015

The number of Middle Eastern and African refugees arriving in Europe has dropped this month for the first time as winter weather makes travel more difficult and European countries have tightened their borders.

Migrants crossing the Mediterranean sea from war-torn countries into the European Union dropped to 116,579 through Nov. 23 from a record high of 220,535 in October, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the first time in 2015 that the monthly refugee total has declined. Over 860,000 people have sought refuge somewhere in the European Union this year from violence in countries like Syria and Libya.

According to Bloomberg, the drop in refugees entering Europe is likely due to both colder weather and a tightening of border policy by a number of European Union states. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban closed his country’s border with Croatia in October to stem the tide of refugees into his country. E.U. nations on Friday also agreed to increase border controls, including systemic registration and fingerprinting.

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