German human rights organization Pro Azul strongly criticizes a new German law that should ensure rejected asylum seekers are returned to their countries of origin more quickly and often. The draft law, which was adopted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government on Wednesday, violates the basic rights of asylum seekers.
If it were up to the federal government, officials who wanted to arrest a rejected asylum seeker would be allowed into all rooms in the shared home. And also at night if necessary. This is traumatic for children, says Pro Asyl spokeswoman Judith Weepke. The refugee organization also describes this matter as a violation of the German Constitution, which stipulates in Article 13 that the home may not be violated. Judith says this also applies to asylum seekers.
Furthermore, under the new law, officials may search for documents and data carriers in homes to determine a person’s identity. This also includes data on mobile phones and information stored in the cloud, such as Google Drive. This violates the right to privacy, according to Pro Asyl.
There are more measures in the bill by Social Democratic Party Minister Nancy Viser. To give authorities more time to prepare for departure, a rejected asylum seeker can now be detained for 28 days. It’s been ten days now.
Protection against war and terrorism
Weser points out that the German asylum system is under pressure. The Home Secretary said of her draft law: “In order to protect the fundamental right to asylum, we must significantly reduce illegal immigration.” “This is essential (…) for the people we must protect from war and terrorism – like the 1.1 million refugees from Ukraine.”
Chancellor Schulz also calls for the need to send back asylum seekers who are widely rejected. But Pro Asyl points out that stricter laws in the past have not significantly increased deportations.
There are about 280,000 rejected asylum seekers in Germany. Of these, about 225,000 people have been “tolerated” and cannot leave because of medical conditions, lack of papers, because their country of origin does not accept them or because it is dangerous to return, as is the case in Afghanistan. Germany is working to conclude immigration agreements with Iraq and other countries to return more people.
Asylum applications are more than last year
In the first half of this year, the number of deported asylum seekers rose by 27% to about 8,000. Most returned to their countries of origin: Georgia, North Macedonia, Albania, Moldova, and Serbia. But the influx of new asylum seekers is also increasing. In the first eight months of 2023, approximately 77 percent more initial asylum applications were filed than in the same period last year.
“It is too late and too little,” CDU politician Torsten Frei said of the bill. He believes that flow should be limited. He said that even if the influx doubled, it would not be proportionate to the number of asylum seekers arriving Die Felt. The draft law still needs the approval of the German Parliament.
The Interior Ministry said that many deportations by plane fail in practice. For example, if rejected asylum seekers resist, or if pilots or airlines refuse to fly.
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