Germany steps up measures against illegal immigration

Olaf Scholz repeated it on Wednesday: “controlling and limiting irregular migration” is a priority for Germany. The authorities have therefore decided to step up measures to combat illegal immigration.

The chancellor and the leaders of the 16 regional states announced several provisions after a long discussion. The increase in arrivals of asylum seekers and refugees is indeed testing the reception capacities of municipalities.

High rise in asylum applications

In the first four months of the year, 101,981 asylum applications were lodged in Germany, an increase of 78% compared to the same period in 2022. Compared to 2019, the number of arrivals increased by 50% . While the average processing time for an asylum application is currently 26 months, the authorities want to speed up the procedure to deport those who have been rejected more quickly, in particular by modernizing the computer processing of files.

Regulatory changes are also planned to facilitate deportations: extension of the possibility of maintaining and ordering detention with a view to deportation, the maximum duration of detention with a view to deportation from the country must be increased from 10 to 28 days.

The issue of permanent border controls

The federal government and the regions have not, however, decided to establish permanent controls at the borders with neighboring countries but have not excluded it if necessary. However, the reintroduction of these checks in the Schengen area is only authorized in exceptional circumstances.

Berlin is also counting on its ability to forge “new migratory partnerships” with the countries from which foreigners come: the aim is to “facilitate the arrival of qualified personnel from these countries, but in return, to conclude very clear on the return “of those who will be rejected, explained Olaf Scholz.

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AfD up in polls

These decisions come in a context of the rise of the extreme right. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is thus credited with around 15% of voting intentions in the polls, compared to 10.3% obtained in the last general elections in 2021.

Germany has also become in recent days the EU country hosting the most Ukrainians, with more than one million refugees. This has had an impact on housing and places available in the education system. Regions and municipalities are therefore calling for aid from the federal state.

This battle over the financing of reception found a provisional solution with the commitment of the State, Wednesday, to pay an additional billion to the Länder. A long-term solution must be prepared by a working group and adopted in November. The Länder want to return to the old system of flat-rate payment by the federal state, which increases automatically in the event of an increase in the number of asylum seekers. They also want 100% support, against 75% currently, for the accommodation of refugees.

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