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Executive Summary for May 21st

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Berlin mulls rollout of asylum detention centers, Germany’s asylum authority faces probe over ‘wrongful’ granting of asylum and Chatham House questions motives of those calling for Syrian refugee returns.

Published on May 21, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Germany Mulls Rollout of Asylum Detention Camps

Germany is to construct more holding centers for asylum seekers. The facilities are known as “anchor” centers, from an acronym in German standing for “arrival, decision, return.”

The proposed rollout of the centers appears to mark the latest shift from the government of Angela Merkel in response to criticism over its handling of the 2015 movement of people.

The centers will make it easier to truncate asylum procedures and speed up deportations.

Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister last week told the German parliament that: “We all know how difficult it is to deport people without protected status after they have been spread out across the country and put down roots in our cities and communities.”

The conservative politician then added: “In the future the end of an asylum application will coincide with the start of the deportation procedure.”

The prototype for the anchor centers is in Seehofer’s home state of Bavaria but has been dogged by high rates of criminality and complaints of inhuman conditions. The rollout of the centers would reverse past policy in which new arrivals were dispersed around the country to try and integrate and set down roots.

Germany Investigating Its Own Refugee Detectives

Germany is investigating its own asylum authority over suspected wrongful granting of asylum. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is checking 10 of its local offices.

The case centers on the former head of its Bremen office and a series of decisions over predominantly Yazidi cases, German media reported.

BAMF officials, dubbed the “refugee detectives” in a recent Atlantic Magazine article, are now suspected of breaking their own rules.

In April some 1,200 decisions made out of Bremen in relation mainly to Yazidis from Iraq and Syria were said to be under review.

Now media reports said BAMF was reviewing 10 out of its 70 outposts and that 8,500 asylum decisions from 2017 were being checked, citing an interior ministry source.

Germany has received more than 1.6 million migrants and asylum seekers since 2014.

Stephan Mayer, Germany’s deputy interior minister, has said that certificates of recognition would be annulled where legally possible if this is found to be necessary.

Chatham House Opposes Premature Syrian Refugee Returns

A leading London think-tank has opposed Syrian refugee returns. A Chatham House paper called returns “premature and dangerous.”

Pointing to recent Lebanese elections, researcher Alaa Barri said that uncoupling returns from a political solution in Syria was reckless.

She pointed to the “orchestrated forced return” of 500 Syrians in April and warned against the proposals of Lebanon’s foreign minister, Gebran Bassil.

Barri also argues against E.U. proposals linking reconstruction in Syria to ending Europe’s refugee crisis. She points out that misdirected reconstruction funds may end up doing the reverse of alleviating pressure from recent arrivals.

“The E.U. should stop thinking of the refugee crisis as a short-term problem and devote more thinking to sustainable and long-term planning,” Barri wrote.

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