The man has arrived in Milan one day after authorities denied his appeal to stay in Germany. The case sparked major national attention when other migrants prevented authorities’ first attempt to deport him.
A 23-year-old refugee from Togo, who made headlines with the attempts to block his deportation order has landed in Italy, authorities confirmed on Tuesday. The news came just one day after Germany’s highest court rejected his final plea not to be removed from the country.
“The rule of law cannot be stopped,” said Thomas Strobl, interior minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg, where the young man lived in a new arrivals home in the village of Ellwangen. The man is now in Milan, as per the rules of the Dublin Agreement, asylum-seekers must be processed in the first EU member state in which they arrive. Germany’s courts found that Italy had an asylum structure in place and there was no reason why refugees cannot be returned there, but some asylum-seekers say that in Italy they will end up on the streets.
The case renewed national debate in Germany over asylum-seekers, the conditions of their accommodation, and the police’s control over some such facilities. Earlier in May, a first attempt to remove the man from his accommodation in Ellwangen was blocked when scores of other refugees confronted the police.
Some have noted the difficulty facing newly-arrived refugees, who are often under strict rules not to leave their arrival centres, and are not allowed to work or take German courses. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is hoping to strengthen these so-called “anchor centres” for new arrivals — seeking a system where the entire asylum procedure takes place under one roof, potentially meaning that refugees could be kept in one place and not permitted to leave for up to two years.
es/msh (AFP, dpa)