A line of police check cars on the German border | Photo: epd/O.Dietze
A line of police check cars on the German border | Photo: epd/O.Dietze

Germany’s anti-migrant AfD party has welcomed one aspect of the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, namely border controls.

Jörg Meuthen, AfD's (Alternative für Deutschland – Alternative for Germany) speaker in the German Parliament as well as deputy leader of the AFD, celebrated the restrictions placed at Germany's borders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Closed borders and migration controls is something the AFD has been asking for "for years," wrote Meuthen on Twitter and Facebook on May 12. He said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel always said it was impossible in an open-border Europe to protect those borders, but "oh look, now they can," he enthused.

In the long post on Facebook, Meuthen cited figures from the German state police which were quoted in the newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag (The World on Sunday) at the weekend. The figures, he said, showed that police were picking up more cases of "illegal migration" at the borders since March 16 and clamping down on it. 

According to Die Welt am Sonntag, police said they had rejected 123,000 people "to date" who had tried to cross the borders since March 16 without the correct permissions. Border police also managed to catch almost 1,900 people they had been searching for. The police said that both illegal migration and cross-border crime had sunk during the lockdown restrictions.

Keep controls at the borders

Meuthen loudly criticizes the "Greens" (members of the Green party) who pursue a much more open-border migration policy. He asks his followers on Facebook whether it wouldn't be sensible to continue with border controls even while other restrictions are relaxed in order to maintain lower levels of migration overall.

In his post, he calls those who hope to cross the border "asylum tourists" and "illegal migrants". To get here, he reasons, they "crossed several safe states to arrive in the so-called social welfare paradise that is Germany."

'Stamp out illegal migration'

Meuthen's worry, he tells his followers, is that because of the Green’s push for opening up the borders and free movement ,"illegal migration" will start up again and Germany's health and welfare system which is "already severely under pressure from coronavirus" will be overwhelmed.

He says that only time, and the elections, will tell what the voters think about this. In his opinion, however, the border restrictions need to continue in order to stamp out "illegal migration" and protect Germany’s economic, social and cultural heritage.

Next elections

According to the latest opinion polls in Germany, the AfD would poll between 9-12% of the vote. Their average in the last general election in September 2017 was 12.6%. The Green party is polling between 14-19% of the vote; the CDU between 37-40% and the SPD (Social Democratic party) between 14-17%.

At the moment, only truck drivers transporting goods, people commuting for work and health-care professionals are allowed to cross Germany’s borders with its neighbors, writes the news agency dpa. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has said that the controls will stay in place until at least May 15.

 

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