Germany deports 100 Egyptians, clamps down on asylum requests
Berlin deported 100 Egyptians on Thursday for violating residency requirements, including those whose asylum requests were rejected, AP reported.
The move signals Germany’s intent to implement a stricter migration policy. The country accepted over one million refugees between 2015 and 2016, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Support for far-right politicians has risen sharply in Germany following the arrival of a million refugees.
The Egyptian deportees landed in Cairo on Wednesday and were accompanied by 50 German officers. They returned after handing over the Egyptians to local authorities at Cairo’s international airport.
Police investigated the returning Egyptians, including conducting criminal checks. More than a dozen are still in custody.
Rights groups oppose deportations to Egypt due to concerns about police abuse and torture. Human Rights Watch documented some of these abuses in a 2017 report titled “’We Do Unreasonable Things Here’: Torture and National Security in al-Sisi’s Egypt”.
The German officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the flight full of deportees was a first for Germany.
Migration was a contentious issue during last year’s election in Germany, which saw the far-right AfD party become the third-largest party by winning 94 seats.
The AfD’s rise was a major stumbling block in forming a coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the centre-left Social Democrats.
Germany’s new government, to be sworn in next week, has vowed to continue pushing for voluntary returns and to enforce deportations for reject asylum applications.
Germany has generous asylum laws compared to other European countries. But the mostly male and young migrants in Germany has led to crime increases, according to a government-funded study.
Political parties in Germany are currently split on whether to clamp down on deportations or do more to integrate refugees.