By Carla Bleiker
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has said he would send proposals to the government aimed at changing German deportation laws in an effort to make it easier to send criminal foreigners back to their home countries.
Leader of the conservative CSU, the Bavarian sister-party of Angela Merkel’s CDU, has suggested such changes before. The trigger for this most recent call was an attack in the Bavarian town of Amberg in which four suspects aged 17 to 19 — asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan and Iran — harassed and beat passers-by on December 29, 2018, while under the influence of alcohol. Twelve people were injured, though the injuries were mostly minor.
There are no data on how many people were deported after committing criminal offenses, but in general, the number of deportations fell last year. During the first half of 2018, roughly 12,300 people were deported from Germany. Compared to the same time period in 2017, that number is down by around 2 percent.
Who can be deported from Germany?
Because non-Germans must have some kind of residency permit to be allowed to stay in Germany, refugees and asylum-seekers are issued with temporary permits while their applications are being considered. If they have had their asylum applications turned down, they no longer have the right to stay in Germany, and are obliged to leave the country by a certain deadline (no longer than six months). If that deadline has passed, they may be forcibly deported to their country of origin.
What about foreigners who have committed a crime?
A person applying for asylum who is sentenced to at least three years in prison must be deported. But in the case of people who have been convicted of less severe crimes, or are simply deemed a threat to public order and safety, the question of whether to deport is up to the authority in question.
The decision is based on two factors: how severe the crime was and how high the perpetrator’s need for protection is. A man who committed a misdemeanor and who’s facing torture or even death in his home country will not get deported. A foreigner with a German family or a steady job is also less likely to face deportation, if the crime he committed was minor.
A general rule says that a foreigner sentenced to at least two years in prison can be deported. One year is enough if the crime in question was part of a catalogue established after the 2015/16 New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne, where a large group of mostly North African and Arab men groped, assaulted and robbed women. The catalogue includes sexual offenses and criminal assault.
Who decides who gets deported?
The responsibility for ordering deportations from Germany is shared by two different authorities – the Foreigners’ Registration Office (“Ausländerbehörde”), which is run by the regional state governments, and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
In most cases, the registration office is responsible for issuing and enforcing deportation orders, but in asylum procedures, the BAMF also has the right to issue a deportation order once the application has been rejected. Even in those cases, the registration office is responsible for enforcing the deportation.
Since most deportations are not voluntary, the registration office can call in the police to help – and since deportations are the remit of border control, deportations are usually carried out by federal, not state police.
Authorities can also apply for a court order for a “deportation detention,” which can last up to 18 months, if they have evidence that a deportee intends to disappear to avoid deportation.
Do deportees have a right to appeal government decisions?
Yes. For instance, people whose asylum applications are rejected are entitled to file appeals with an administrative court. But they need to do so quickly. Those whose applications are rejected as “obviously unfounded” have only one week to file an appeal, while others get two weeks. People can also appeal against the decisions made by the foreigners’ registration authorities.
In recent years overworked BAMF offices have made flawed decisions on asylum applications, leaving asylum-seekers with legal opportunities to challenge rejections. This has resulted in many asylum-seekers spending a long time in Germany even after their initial applications were turned down.
What other reasons are there that hold up deportations?
Among those who are legally required to leave Germany, many escape deportation because they are too mentally or physically ill to travel or they lack identity documents such as passports needed for repatriation.
German law also prohibits deportation if the deportee is threatened in his or her country of origin with capital punishment or torture, or if their life or freedom is threatened because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a certain social group. These people are then “tolerated” in Germany until the conditions precluding deportation change.
People initially allowed to stay may be told to leave later, which happened to some of the refugees Germany took in during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. They were ordered to go back home when the situation stabilized.
Ben Knight and Jefferson Chase contributed to this report.
IOM launches open South America portal
Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open South America, available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.
The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.
The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.
“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.
“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.
29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM
The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.
About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.
Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.
He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.
Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.
“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”
Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.
“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.
Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.
The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.
FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK
The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.
Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.
Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.
Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.
“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.
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