German Police Turns Back 19,720 Refugees From Nigeria, Iraq, Others

Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, a German language regional daily newspaper published in Osnabrück, reported that the nation’s Police turned back 19,720 refugees between January and November 2016, mostly from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq who had been registered in other EU countries.

This represented a 121.24 per cent rise over the 8,913 in all of 2015.

Reuters reported a rise in the number of refugees turned away at the borders, quoted the German government as saying on Wednesday that nearly 55,000 migrants who were not eligible for or may likely to be denied asylum have left the country voluntarily this year, up by 20,000 from the number who left of their own volition in 2015.

Most of those leaving in 2016 returned to their homes in Albania, Serbia, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iran, Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said earlier.

Those leaving are eligible for one-off support of up to 3,000 euros to help support finding employment at home.

Harald Neymanns, Interior Ministry spokesman told a news conference “that’s a considerable increase from last year,” explaining that the 2016 figure had climbed to 54,123 by Tuesday, December 27.

For him also, “the increase is welcome. It’s always preferable when people leave the country voluntarily instead of being deported.”

A Finance Ministry spokesman said the government would boost funding slightly to 150 million euros in 2017 to support efforts to encourage people to leave Germany, a nation that has toughened its stance on immigration in recent months.

The apprehension was prompted by concerns about security and integration after admitting more than 1.1 million migrants from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere since early 2015.

As if to confirm such fears, last week a failed asylum seeker who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State militant group killed 12 people when he rammed a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, fuelling growing criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy.

 

Separately, German security officials told Reuters the number of those deported after their asylum requests were rejected rose to almost 23,800 from January to November – up from almost 20,900 in all of 2015.

As public support for her pro-refugee policies wanes ahead of September’s federal election, Merkel has said it is vital to focus resources on those fleeing war, and to keep public support up by deporting foreigners to countries where there is no persecution.

Attacks and security alerts involving refugees and migrants have boosted the popularity of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose rise above 10 percent in opinion polls could complicate Merkel’s re-election hopes.

On Tuesday, seven refugees from Syria and Iraq aged 15 to 21 were detained in Berlin on charges of attempted murder for trying to set fire to a homeless man in an underground station.