Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has responded to the illegal re-entry of a clan member by making border controls even stricter. Moreover, he declared Friday that the clan member’s deportation was being prepared.
Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is angry about a recently deported clan member returning to Germany illegally and applying for asylum. His response, a decree he announced this week, which builds on an announcement he made in September, mandates tougher border checks that are to prevent such returns.
Concretely, Germany’s federal police will reinforce checks at border crossings through intensified control and search measures - especially directly at the borders.
"Individuals with re-entry bans will be turned away at all internal German borders," the Federal Police headquarters said Thursday evening in Potsdam on the outskirts of Berlin.
This will be the case regardless of any fresh request for protected status in Germany, the police said.
Clan member to be deported
On Friday, Seehofer announced that the clan member’s asylum application was rejected as "obviously ill-founded" ("offensichtlich unbegründet") and that his deportation was being prepared.
The man, however, still has the right to appeal the decision of Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
At the end of October, the leading member of the Lebanese Miri clan reappeared in the northern German city of Bremen. He had been deported to Lebanon in July after being sentenced for gangland drug offences in Germany.
According to the new decree, in the future, the focus of the planned checks will be concentrated on the country's internal borders, taking into account the transport routes used for illegal migration.
The checks should take place randomly at all German border crossings, a spokesman told German news agency dpa.
In late September, Seehofer announced plans to increase random searches at all German borders. The goal was to discourage migrants from moving between EU member states.
'Litmus test for the well-fortified democracy'
The man has been ordered by a German court to depart the country before December 2, but he is attempting to have the deportation order blocked by legal means. The case has caused a public outcry in Germany.
"The case is a litmus test for the well-fortified democracy," Seehofer told German daily Bild. "If the rule of law doesn’t assert itself here, the populace will lose trust in our whole asylum system."
Crime clans of Arab origin are infamous for high levels of violence and some spectacular crimes. They could have hundreds of thousands of potential new recruits in vulnerable refugees and migrants, confirm the German police.
In Berlin, they have been called a 'parallel society' and have been compared to the mafia. Earlier this year, German police launched a new policy that takes on criminal clan families in Germany’s large cities.
In mid-January, 1,300 police officers raided shisha bars, betting shops, cafes and teahouses on suspicion of money laundering, tax evasion and unreported income in North Rhine Westphalia (NRW).
Checks on German-Polish border
On Thursday, checks had already begun at the German-Polish border crossing in the eastern town of Görlitz in the state of Saxony. Saxony's Interior Minister Roland Wöller welcomed the move.
"Security starts at all borders, not only at the Austrian border. That was one of our demands of the federal government," Wöller told dpa.
In order to ensure security and freedom of movement, one must know who is coming into the country, he said.
"No one understands it when criminal clan leaders who have already been deported return home after a few weeks,” he said, referring to the member of the Miri clan.
"Therefore, those who have no right of entry into our country must be rejected at the border," Wöller added.
With material from dpa