In order to reduce the number of failed deportations, the German cabinet on Wednesday approved a controversial bill toughening up the rules for expelling rejected asylum seekers.
The “orderly return law” proposed by hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer should make it more difficult for foreigners who have to leave Germany to prevent their deportation.
Among other things, it is intended to make it easier to detain people for a short time ahead of their deportation.
Seehofer considers his draft to be much more effective than a similar law from 2017.
The effectiveness of the bill now passed by the cabinet is “many times over” that of the previous one, Seehofer said on Wednesday after the cabinet meeting in Berlin. The first reform under his predecessor had “raised more questions than answers,” he claimed.
Significantly less money than before is to be spent on foreigners who are already recognized as refugees in another EU country. “Their services are limited to the return ticket, so to speak,” the deputy head of the conservative parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei, said on Wednesday in Berlin, adding that was a good thing.
In cases where another EU country is responsible for someone’s asylum application, according to the so-called Dublin rules, “performance reductions” are planned.
They should receive less than what is stipulated in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, according to the draft.
Meanwhile, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil of the centre-left Social Democrats (SDP) also brought forward plans for a reform of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act.
The cabinet approved Heil’s reforms, which will see single individuals and single parents receive 150 euros (170 dollars) per month in addition to benefits in kind, instead of 135 euros.
Those who live in large initial reception centres or in shared accommodation are to receive only 136 euros.
Asylum seekers looking for a job are also to be given access to German language courses earlier, even if their chances of being recognized as refugees are slim, the cabinet decided.
The only exceptions are “tolerated persons with an unexplained identity” as they are generally prohibited from work.
Last year, 31,000 deportations from Germany failed. The main reasons were unresolved identities and missing travel documents.
But the changes also met with criticism. The president of the Protestant charity Diakonie, Ulrich Lilie, said: This disproportionate tightening of the rules, some of which violates European law, will lead to further deprivation of rights for refugees and tolerated persons, and integration into the labour market and society will be completely blocked.”
The Joint Welfare Association said: “Despite only a modest increase in the numbers arriving, the grand coalition acts as if Germany were in emergency status.”
Positive steps to promote integration would be virtually wiped out by this deportation offensive, the association said.