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Deportees being put in a plane to their home country in Leipzig. The new law makes it much easier for rejected asylum-seekers to be deported / Photo: Screenshot/ZDF

New law for quicker deportation enters into force in Germany

The so-called ‘Orderly Return Law’ (das Geordnete-Rückkehr-Gesetz) was approved in June. It went into force on Wednesday (21 August). It gives authorities and police more powers to enforce deportation orders. Critics fear more refugees could now be legally detained.

The tightening of rules governing the deportation of rejected asylum-seekers took effect on Wednesday. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said an obligation to leave the country must also be followed by the actual departure of the affected: “With the orderly return law, we will implement this consequently,” Seehofer said in Berlin.

The law for better enforcement of the obligation to leave the country (Das Gesetz zur besseren Durchsetzung der Ausreisepflicht) had been passed in the Bundestag at the beginning of June as part of a package of migration laws. It gives the authorities and the police more powers to enforce deportation orders. As these often fail because of lack of travel papers, asylum-seekers must now help to clarify their identity. If they do not do so, they will only receive a temporary residence paper, “tolerance for persons with unexplained identity” (Duldung für Personen mit ungeklärter Identität), which is associated with many disadvantages such as a work ban and benefit cuts.

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Under the new law, the accommodation of refugees in central reception centres, the so-called anchor centres (Ankerzentren), will be extended to 18 months, and the deportation of those who commit crime will be made easier. In addition, the grounds for the detention of deportation candidates are expanded. Because, according to the federal governing coalition, there are too few detention places, deportation detainees may also be housed in normal prisons in the next three years.

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A pro-refugee association, Help for People in Deportation Detention Büren (Hilfe für Menschen in Abschiebehaft Büren), fears the new law provides grounds for the detention of many more refugees. According to the group, the law expands the grounds of detention so extensively that virtually every refugee can be imprisoned. The conditions of detention, which have already worsened, would increasingly be subject to the principle of security and order, said the spokesman for the association, Frank Gockel, in Detmold. “Care, care and advice recede more and more in the background,” complained the group.

Sola Jolaoso

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