From file: According to the German newspaper Bild, more than 6,000 migrants deported from Germany were caught back in the country  | Photo: Sebastian Willnow / dpa / picture alliance
From file: According to the German newspaper Bild, more than 6,000 migrants deported from Germany were caught back in the country | Photo: Sebastian Willnow / dpa / picture alliance

Nearly 6,500 people deported from Germany sneaked back to the country over the past three years, police told Bild newspaper.

More than 6,000 migrants deported from Germany were caught back in the country between 2020 and 2022, Bild newspaper reported Saturday.

Citing federal police statistics, the newspaper said 6,495 foreigners had returned or tried to return over the past three years. 

During that period, the number of returnees increased by 74%.

In 2020, 1,614 deported migrants were caught. In 2021, 2,074 cases were recorded and last year, 2,807 people were arrested for violating their deportation order, Bild reported.

In January this year alone, the federal police recorded 184 cases.

The revelation is likely to reignite a debate over the country's failure to deport failed asylum seekers even when they have committed crimes.

Several incidents have been highlighted in the media recently, including the alleged perpetrator of a knife attack last month on a regional train, who was a 33-year-old Palestinian with a criminal record.

Two Afghan nationals who carried out sex attacks in Germany and were deported were later found to have reentered the country.

Opposition calls for more border checks

The latest figures on deported returnees were seized upon by the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

"These numbers reveal the enormous gaps in [Interior Minister Nancy] Faeser's security policy," CDU lawmaker Stefan Heck said.

Heck, who sits on the German parliament's Interior and Home Affairs Committee, told Bild: "In the end, only effective controls at the borders will help prevent illegal re-entry."

Having welcomed 1.2 million migrants and refugees during the 2015-16 migrant crisis, Germany is again seeing high levels of immigration after a drop during the COVID pandemic.

Last year, a total of 244,132 asylum applications were filed, according to data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.

The figures exclude more than a million war refugees from Ukraine.

1 in 5 asylum claims rejected

More than 56% of asylum applications were approved last year, while about one in five applications were rejected outright.

While some failed applicants are deported, a ban on deportation was issued in 13% of cases due to their country of origin being unsafe.

In these cases, applicants can remain in Germany temporarily.

The sheer number of migrants arriving has led to a huge backlog in processing asylum claims.

As of the end of last year, BAMF said 136,448 cases had not yet been decided.

Germany's center-left coalition government promised to step up deportations of failed asylum seekers when it came to office in December 2021. But critics say little has changed.

After months of pleading from local officials for more help to deal with new arrivals, Faeser hosted a meeting on Thursday to address the issue.

She offered more federal properties to accommodate refugees but held off on delivering on promises of further financial support for the states.

Author: Nik Martin

Edited by: Kieran Burke

First published: February 18, 2023

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