The so-called "Orderly Return Law" (Geordnete-Rückkehr-Gesetz), which was enacted in Germany a year ago has failed to achieve its objective of raising the number of deportations in the first six months of its existence.
Between September 2019 and February 2020, the total number of deportees from Germany stood at 10,276 failed asylum seekers — nearly 1,000 cases short compared to the same period a year earlier, before the controversial law had even been enacted. However, the Ministry of the Interior said that it was too early to draw conclusions from that data set.
Pandemic pauses deportations
The COVID-19 outbreak in Germany resulted in a great reduction in numbers of people being deported from Germany. At the height of the public health crisis in April, there were only 28 deportations.
By July 2020, the situation had stabilized and the number of deportations rose back to 787 - but still a far short of the numbers recorded in February 2020, which were well over 1,500.
Meanwhile the numbers of attempted but not fully executed deportations remained roughly the same when compared to the previous year: between September 2019 and February 2020, there had been a total of 13,759 deportation procedures initiated which hadn't come to fruition. The figure representing the same period the previous year was only marginally higher with 13,835 such cases.
The reasons for failed deportation attempts can be varied, but they include ongoing appeal processes, a lack of cooperation with authorities in the countries of origin of the migrants affected and also failed asylum seekers going into hiding.
Furthermore, there has been a total ban on deportations to Syria due to the ongoing security situation there, meaning that even failed asylum seekers pegged for deportation would not be sent there — for the time being.
(No) orderly return
The "Orderly Return Law" — which officially is called the "Second Law for the Improved Execution of Deportations" (Zweites Gesetz zur besseren Durchsetzung der Ausreisepflicht) was introduced on August 21, 2019.
It was designed to give more power to authorities to apply sanctions against those who do not comply with the lengthy deportation procedures in Germany. Under the new law, people who are a flight-risk can now be detained prior to their deportation.
Furthermore, the law allows authorities to start proceedings against migrants and refugees who lie on their asylum applications.