Nearly every second deportation from Germany was cancelled in the first quarter of 2018, according to the German Federal Police. Some of the deportations are called off at the last minute. Charlotte Hauswedell reports.
Between January and March this year, a total of 5,548 rejected asylum-seekers were deported from Germany, a spokesperson for the Federal Police told the Funke media group on Thursday.
At the same time, in 4,752 cases, deportations were cancelled by the authorities.
The Federal Police confirmed there were different reasons for the cancellations. Many times, deportees go into hiding or do not show up on the day of scheduled return.
In other cases, pilots or the airlines refuse to carry out the return flights. Between January and March, there were 75 such cases. According to Federal Police data, 314 deportations were cancelled for this reason in 2017, compared with 139 in 2016.
Jörg Handwerk, board member of the Cockpit pilots‘ union told Funke media: “If someone on board the plane is acting aggressively or gets violent, then the pilot has to reconsider whether the flight should be carried out”.
The Federal Police cannot confirm this stand. Deportations get cancelled even if police officers accompanying the flight have ensured that the deportee poses “no threat to the security and order on board the airplane”, a spokesperson was quoted.
Many rejected asylum-seekers do not even end up being transported to the airport. In these cases, the Federal Police is not informed about the exact circumstances, according to spokesperson Ivo Priebe. Possible reasons could be that the deportees had simply disappeared, that they had presented a medical note or that they had managed to appeal their negative asylum decisions.
According to government figures, 229,000 people were considered “ausreisepflichtig“ at the end of 2017, meaning that they were not allowed to stay in Germany any longer and were subject to deportation. About half of them were rejected asylum-seekers. The other half included people whose visa had expired, for example.
Last year, around 24,000 deportations were carried out in Germany and 13,563 deportations were cancelled.