In September, federal elections will take place in Germany. Various parties are hoping to win enough seats to have a majority in the government. What types of policies do these parties suggest to deal with the migrant crisis?
The ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union (CSU) are hoping to tighten their refugee policy and become carry out more deportations of rejected asylum seekers. They also want to make the process of deportations quicker. In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is a member of the CDU, claimed, "We can do it" when the country faced an influx of asylum seekers. She believed that Germany had the economic strength and cultural willingness to open their doors to the refugees. But following thousands of cases of sexual assaults on women by men of North African origin at Cologne's central train station on New Year's Eve and a terrorist attack by failed Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri in Berlin in December 2016, the country's attitudes towards asylum seekers have hardened.
The CDU and CSU, together two of the more conservative parties in Germany's parliament, hope to keep their conservative base through a more restrictive asylum policy. They want to make it harder for refugees to bring their families in Germany and to also restrict the number of people who can get subsidiary protection, which grants asylum seekers a one year stay in the country. The CDU has also been adamant about continuing deportations of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan, a country that many believe is still unsafe. Last but not least, they want an overall reduction of the number refugees entering in Germany.
Another reason behind the more restrictive policy is that the CSU is more conservative than the CDU. The CSU and its lead candidate Horst Seehofer have pushed for fewer refugees: in a interview in October 2015, Seehofer said that that have "reached maximum capacity" and can't handle more refugees. The federal state the CSU represents, Bavaria, was overwhelmed with the influx of asylum seekers in 2015 and was in a state of emergency as thousands of people entered from the Balkan route.
The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) has called for more money to be provided to the German states to deal with the crisis. It has also suggested more affordable apartments for refugees and a quicker asylum process. In an article in the German newspaper Welt, SPD lead candidate Martin Schulz called for EU-wide solutions to the refugee crisis: "What we need is a European immigration and asylum law. The refugee crisis has shown us that a global phenomenon like the movement of refugees can not be answered at the national level. It can only be solved on a European level."
The far-left Die Linke party, which is lead by Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, says in its electoral program that they "want to fight the reasons why refugees flee, but not the refugees." They want "an immediate stop to deportations and the right to stay for all asylum seekers." They also want to call off the EU-Turkey deal. You learn more about the EU-Turkey deal here.
The left-wing environment-focused Green party has also called to improve the living conditions in the native countries of the refugees. They also want more personnel for the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to handle asylum applications. They have also demanded a stop to deportations to Afghanistan.
The Alternative for Germany
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) is a populist, right-wing party. They want to decrease immigration to Germany. In their electoral platform, they have claimed that the 1951 Geneva Convention, which determines who is and who is not a refugee, needs to be renegotiated. They have also called for a reduction in family reunifications of refugees.Here is the AfD's electoral program (in German)