The German Cabinet approved legislation on Wednesday that is intended to ease deportations of unsuccessful asylum-seekers.
The German Cabinet has granted its approval to a legislative proposal on Wednesday, with the aim of streamlining the deportation process for unsuccessful asylum-seekers. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is actively working to address the issue of migration in the political landscape.
This draft legislation, contingent upon parliamentary endorsement for implementation, encompasses several key provisions. Notably, it extends the maximum period of pre-deportation detention from 10 days to 28 days and specifically expedites the deportation of individuals affiliated with criminal organisations.
The proposed legislation further grants the authorities the power to conduct residential searches to ascertain an individual's identity definitively and, in some instances, eliminates the obligation to provide advance notice of deportations.
Germany has a high number of refugees
Germany has been grappling with a significant influx of refugees and asylum-seekers, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and ongoing migration challenges. Over one million individuals have sought protection in Germany as result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Asylum Information Database, 244,000 people from other countries applied for asylum in Germany last year, with projections predicted to be as high as 300,00 this year.
Germany's response to migration has been a longstanding issue within the country, with 1.1 million refugees arriving in 2015 after a wave of migration following an escalation in conflicts across the Middle-East and North Africa.
Chancellor Scholz has expressed his renewed commitment to addressing migration issues, especially following the regional elections on 8 October, where voters expressed discontent with his fractious three-party coalition.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser initially announced this legislative initiative two weeks ago. Chancellor Scholz, in a recent statement, emphasised the necessity for Germany to carry out deportations on a larger scale, especially for migrants who do not have a legitimate right to remain in the country.
"To safeguard the fundamental right to asylum, we must significantly curtail irregular migration," commented Faeser on Wednesday. "Those who lack the right to remain must leave our nation."
The Challenge of repatriation
Although Germany has deported approximately 27% more individuals this year compared to the previous year, this new legislation demonstrates the need of the German government for more action to be taken.
The majority of rejected asylum-seekers in Germany are allowed to stay temporarily for various reasons, including medical conditions, having a child with residency status, or difficulties in obtaining proper identification.
However, deportations can encounter obstacles for multiple reasons, including those addressed by the legislation, as well as uncooperative attitudes from the home countries of the migrants. Germany is actively working to establish agreements with various nations to address this challenge, while also promoting legal immigration opportunities.
Germany's need for faster asylum applications and deportations also comes as 215,841 have either pending asylum applications or are in ongoing appeal proceedings against decisions on their applications, as of December 2021. With a further 186,640 rejected asylum seekers living in Germany as so-called 'Geduldete' or 'tolerated persons'.
Germany will extend its border checks with its neighbours
The government informed the European Commission on 16 October of its intention to extend the initial 10-day border checks. Faeser plans to extend border checks at Germany's borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland by at least more 20 days.
Faeser has also outlined her intentions to increase the minimum and maximum sentences for individuals involved in migrant smuggling and is hopeful that the Cabinet can approve these changes in early November.