Refugees and their supporters demonstrating against housing asylum seekers in camps, Munich, November 2014 / Photo: Bayerischer Flüchtlingsrat

German politicians call for tougher stance on asylum seekers

Ahead of this week’s new round of coalition talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU and the SPD, leading Bavarian politicians are demanding tougher measures against asylum seekers, including mandatory age checks, speedier deportations and benefit cuts. Charlotte Hauswedell reports.

The interior minister of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann (CSU), has reiterated that deportations must be carried out more effectively, especially in the case of offenders. The countries of origin of asylum seekers, Herrmann told the Funke Media Group, would have to cooperate more effectively.

The deportation of underage asylum seekers from Germany is subject to EU judicial protection regulations, making the process not an easy one, the minister said. Countries of origin would have to ensure that returnees would be handed over to authorities, he said.

Benefit cuts

In line with Herrmann, Alexander Dobrindt, the head of the CSU group in the federal parliament, announced that his party would introduce benefit cuts for asylum seekers so that “Germany would stop being a pull factor for migrants across the world”. By paying benefits that are among the highest in Europe, Germany is sending the wrong signals, Dobrindt told the newspaper Münchener Merkur.

The CSU plans to extend the period of 15 months to 36 months in which asylum seekers only receive basic reimbursements instead of regular social benefits. For rejected asylum seekers, benefits would largely be reduced to payments in kind.

In a draft resolution paper, the CSU also calls for a more stringent fight against terrorism. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution should be allowed to surveillance underage extremists, no matter their age. Mosques that preach hate and violence should be closed down immediately, the paper states.

Debate after murder case

The recent murder of a German teenage girl in the town of Kandel has sparked a heated debate on asylum policy in Germany. The alleged perpetrator was an underage Afghan asylum seeker. His stated age of 15 years was not, however, officially confirmed. At 15, he would be treated under the criminal law relating to young offenders.

Mandatory age checks 

Due to other cases of violent attacks by refugees, the CSU is also demanding stricter medical checks to determine the age of asylum seekers. An X-ray of the hand bone structure could offer reliable results, proponents argue.

The German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer), however, said in a statement on Monday that the introduction of a mandatory age test for refugees would be an “intrusion of the person’s physical integrity.” Those tests, they added, also had a large margin of error.

Underage asylum seekers in Germany are housed in youth accommodation and are given a legal guardian – they receive stronger protection by the state. Entitlement to housing and welfare support is given preference if the asylum seeker is legally a child. Those who arrive without papers state their age during the asylum application – and statutory age checks are not mandatory.

“Too many refugees are still faking adolescent age”, Herrmann said to the Funke Media Group. He demanded that age be determined right after arrival.

All measures including the benefit cuts, age checks, and deportations, will be discussed during the CSU party congressional meeting this week.

© InfoMigrants

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