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  • Migrants apply for asylum in Germany. Some of their petitions have already been rejected. But, according to the Germany’s Ministry of the Interior, rejected asylum claims do not automatically lead to deportation. (Photo: dpa)

    Migrants apply for asylum in Germany. Some of their petitions have already been rejected. But, according to the Germany’s Ministry of the Interior, rejected asylum claims do not automatically lead to deportation. (Photo: dpa) | Photo: dpa

Published 22 October 2014

Political debate on deportation enforcement unfolds in Germany, while 59.4 percent more asylum petitions have been submitted this year to German immigration authorities than in 2013.

According to the German federal government, immigration officials are not deporting enough asylum seekers. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior told Die Welt: “There is a significant lack of enforcement in terms of mandatory leave.” Many people “will remain in the country indefinitely, even when they don’t have a right to residency on any grounds, not even humanitarian reasons,” the official continued.

With the title “Low deportation rates attract refugees,” the article in the right-leaning German periodical adds that the existing enforcement deficit in terms of the terminating residency represents a significant “suction factor” funneling migrants into Germany, assisted by human smugglers advertising Germany as an easy entry into Europe.

Such rhetoric has created the political climate for tightening immigration laws in Germany. The Ministry of the Interior, headed by conservative Thomas de Maizière of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, wants to act fast. According to the cabinet speaker, a decision to draft a “revision of  residency termination and right-to-stay” is imminent. The chair of the Congressional Committee, Wolfgang Bosbach, told Die Welt that there is a lot of work to be done in “discarding the many obstacles to deportation.” Otherwise, the official continued, "the legal determination that [the migrant or refugee] does not have the right to remain in Germany is de facto inconsequential.”   

Political infighting, particularly between the CDU and the more liberal SPD, have brought negotiations on a residency reform in the German parliament to a standstill. The reform is intended to “offer well-integrated foreigners opportunities in Germany,” Die Welt said. More moderate political forces in Germany seek to open the pathway to legal immigration to expand the country’s qualified workforce, “instead of forcing people to embark on the dangerous journey on the Mediterranean Sea,” according to German online publication Der Westen.

The Federal Bureau of Migration and Refugees in Nuremberg, Germany reported that in the course of this year, 136,039 applications for asylum have been made, representing a 59.4 percent increase from  2013. According to the bureau, there have been 5,743 deportations so far in 2014.

Most asylum seekers came from war-torn countries Syria, Serbia and Eritrea. When refugees and migrants arrive in Germany, they are met with officials who don’t believe them. If they cannot prove the reasons why they are seeking asylum, they are required by law to leave Germany and can be deported.

Irmgard Schwaetzer of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) rejects the deportation enforcement argument as a solution to the problem. She urges for a fundamental rethinking of immigration policy in Germany. For Schwaetzer, Germany’s current system shows that “the 1990’s asylum program aimed at turning migrants away at Europe’s external borders is now less suitable than ever in solving the problems.”

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