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20 Jan, 2024 15:47

German MPs pass bill easing deportations

The new law extends the period of custody for failed asylum seekers to make it harder to evade deportation
German MPs pass bill easing deportations

Germany’s parliament has passed legislation that facilitates the deportation of failed asylum seekers. However, the law has come under fire from both ends of the political spectrum, with conservatives calling the measures insufficient and left-wingers crying foul over their perceived harshness.

In November, Chancellor Olaf Scholz singled out the restriction of “irregular migration” as his cabinet’s objective. He also revealed that Berlin was considering the possibility of processing asylum applications in third countries outside of the European Union.

Around the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported that the German government was considering the African nations of Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, and Morocco as potential partners.

The new piece of legislation approved by the Bundestag on Thursday evening, among other provisions, extends from ten to 28 days the custody period pending deportation, except for families with minors and unaccompanied minors. The latter cannot be put into custody.

This should help prevent situations where failed asylum seekers simply go into hiding when the deportation date approaches and wait until the procedural window closes. Moreover, from now on, the authorities will not have to inform deportees when they are supposed to be removed from the country. The only exception is families with children under 12.

On top of that, the new law gives police more rights in terms of searching migrant accommodations to facilitate the identification of asylum seekers. From now on, officials will also be allowed to access the cell phones of foreigners who claim to have lost their ID, to search for personal details.

The legislation has also expanded grounds for deportation to include those entering Germany with fake documents, committing anti-Semitic crimes as well as participating in criminal groups.

“Those who have no right of stay in Germany must leave Germany,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said, adding that the new law aims to make legal immigration and smooth integration more acceptable in society’s eyes.

However, critics from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) and conservative Christian-Democratic (CDU) parties argue that amendments pushed through by the Green party have rendered the new law toothless.

CDU MP Christoph de Vries dismissed the new legislation as a “non-starter” that will not even dent the migrant crisis. The Left party, on the contrary, denounced it as an attack on individuals’ basic rights.

Throughout 2023, Germany saw a major uptick in new arrivals, aside from the million-plus Ukrainian refugees who have crossed into the country since February 2022.