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Austria to keep returning illegal aliens to Afghanistan, as govt calls for deportation centers in nearby Middle Eastern countries

Austria to keep returning illegal aliens to Afghanistan, as govt calls for deportation centers in nearby Middle Eastern countries
Austria has called on countries around Afghanistan to establish “deportation centers” to handle immigrants attempting to flee the Taliban, as the country’s government maintains its hardline immigration stance.

In a joint statement released on Monday, Austria’s interior minister, Karl Nehammer, and foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, suggested “deportation centers” should be established in the “region around Afghanistan” to handle asylum claims.

The comments from the Austrian officials came ahead of an online meeting between EU interior ministers on Wednesday, and after the country’s government joined five other member states in warning the bloc against halting deportations of illegal immigrants from Afghanistan. However, three of those EU countries – Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands – have since changed their position.

“If deportations are no longer possible because of the restrictions imposed on us by the European Convention on Human Rights, alternatives must be considered,” the statement from the Austrian ministers read.

The Austrian officials also called on the EU to expand the meeting of interior ministers to include foreign secretaries in order to allow member states to coordinate their policy towards Afghanistan. However, since their statement was issued, the EU has called for a separate meeting of foreign ministers to be held on Tuesday.

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Austria’s governing coalition, led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, has maintained a hardline stance on immigration, which saw him rise to power shortly after the 2015/16 migration crisis in the region, becoming the youngest person to hold the position in Austrian history.

An influx of migrants to Austria and other European nation during that period resulted in Vienna passing a controversial law that allows for officials to reject most asylum seekers who attempt to illegally cross into the country. The legislation also limited successful asylum claims to just three years, and it allows the country to limit the number of applications accepted.

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