Germany to apply strict deportation rules, said Interior Minister

The newly appointed president of the German Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has called for stricter adherence to deportation rules of asylum seekers, even in situations where the individual cases are difficult.

In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel on 10 November 2018, Han-Eckhard Sommer said he intends to pursue tougher measures on deporting rejected asylum seekers. When asked if he considers himself a hardliner on asylum, Sommer said he would describe himself as one, “if advocating for the consistent application of existing law is enough to give you such a title.”

Sommer was appointed to his position in June after his predecessor, Jutta Cordt, was sacked due to questionable decisions in Bremen. Her office was accused of granting asylum to at least two extremists and refugee status to another 44 people despite Islamist ties.

“What happened in Bremen was bad. Authorities found errors to a serious extent among a few employees, where consciously manipulative behaviour was at play,” Sommer said.

Sommer also vowed support for the creation of holding and processing centres for asylum seekers, known in Germany as “Anker”, which was proposed by interior minister Horst Seehofer. The centres are meant to hold asylum seekers until their right to stay is determined, and to speed up deportation of unsuccessful asylum seekers.

“We all know how difficult it is to deport people without protected status after they have been spread out across the country and put down roots in our cities and communities,” said Seehofer in May 2018. Those opposing the creation of these centres argue that it prevents those with realistic chances of being granted asylum from integrating at the earliest opportunity available.

However, Sommer insists these centres are intended for asylum seekers with few chances of gaining asylum, adding that opposition is counter-productive.

Germany has been one of the main destination countries in the European Union (EU) for migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. Between January and October 2018, a total of 138,655 first time asylum applications were received in the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has applied a largely welcoming policy for refugees but has faced fierce opposition from the far-right and other EU members.

TMP – 04/12/2018

Photo Credit: Jazzmany/Shutterstock. A Syrian refugee family at a camp in Passau, Germany (1 August 2015)