Buses in Germany | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/A.Dedert
Buses in Germany | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/A.Dedert

Germany's federal police reportedly caught thousands of migrants trying to enter the country illegally on buses or trains in 2018. Most of the migrants entered the country from neighboring Austria.

German federal police caught more than 14,000 people entering the country illegally on buses and trains in 2018, regional newspaper Rheinische Post reported on Monday.

An internal federal police document seen by the newspaper showed just under 8,000 migrants entered Germany on buses and slightly more than 6,000 on trains.

Most of the migrants were from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Some 6,000 entered on buses and trains from Austria, the border with the highest number of illegal crossings. The next highest number of illegal crossings was on the border with France and Switzerland.

Federal police only refused entry to illegal migrants who crossed the Austrian-German border.

European court weighs in

Passport checks on buses are set to become more difficult after the European Court of Justice ruled that Germany's membership of the Schengen area prohibits bus companies from checking passenger identity papers.

A German and a Spanish bus company had brought action against a German regulation requiring them to check passengers' passports and residence permits before crossing the border.

The ruling still needs to be reviewed by Germany's Federal Administrative Court.

First published: January 28, 2019

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