A holding center in Brandenburg | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/M.Hanschke
A holding center in Brandenburg | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/M.Hanschke

Germany prohibited housing people slated for deportation in prisons. But state leaders have said the practice — with a few changes — could be deemed legal again.

Germany's 16 states want to hold migrants slated for deportation in prisons, Die Welt reported on Thursday.

This was reportedly decided by the state premiers at a meeting in December.

A resolution called for a relaxation of rules that prohibit such practices, with the aim of housing deportation candidates in special wings of prisons separate from the prison's criminal population.

In 2014, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that keeping those slated for deportation in regular prisons violated the EU Return Directive. Since then, such migrants have generally had to be accommodated in special facilities.

Read more: How do deportations work in Germany?

Police union in favor of plans

The chairman of the Federal Police Trade Union, Ernst Walter, told Die Welt he welcomed the plans.

"The only people who can be reliably deported are those who are already in deportation custody because thousands of people are evading deportation by temporary or permanent disappearance on the planned date of repatriation," he was quoted as saying. Therefore the "increased provision of deportation detention is urgently necessary".

Limited capacity

Current deportation facilities can hold fewer than 500 people, meaning holding all deportees is not currently possible.

"Since the urgently needed construction of new deportation detention facilities in the federal states is taking far too long, I welcome the intention of the prime ministers to place deportees in normal detention facilities in separate wings again," Walter said.

Read more: Germany: More than half of deportees go missing

Half of deportations fail

Asylum seekers are issued with temporary permits while their applications are being considered. If they are rejected and not offered any other type of residency permit, they are obligated to leave the country by a set deadline of no longer than six months. If that deadline has passed, they may be forcibly deported to their country of origin.

People whose residency permits are not extended by authorities are also subject to deportation. Migrants convicted of a crime are also subject to deportation in most cases.

In the first half of 2018, nearly 24,000 people were ordered to be returned to their home country. About 11,000 deportations were completed.

aw/sms (AFP, dpa)

First published: December 20, 2018

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