The head of the Bavarian Interior Ministry, Markus Soeder, has said that Germany should start sending potential asylum seekers back to their borders if the new refugee center advocated by federal authorities does not work as planned.
“Uncontrolled immigration has fundamentally changed not only the political architecture, but also the security situation in Germany since 2015. This should not happen again,” the Bavarian Interior Minister and member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) said in an interview with the newspaper Bild.
If the new initiative – which aims to create large refugee centers to house all potential asylum seekers while their applications are being processed – ultimately fails, then Soeder believes that Germany should resort to more drastic measures.
“There must be denials of [direct] entry into the border,” he emphasized.
Bavaria should also set up its own border police to improve security, the minister noted. “It can also become a model for other German states,” said Soeder, urging other German regions to also take steps to strengthen their border security.
Soeder has supported the initiative proposed by the CSU head and German Federal Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, whose alternative plan calls for keeping refugees in reception facilities for up to 18 months during the review of their cases.
The German authorities in the centers would be responsible for identifying new arrivals as well as determining age in cases of underage refugees.
The new facilities have been called Anker Centers (Anchor). In German ‘Anker’ is an acronym for ‘Reception, Processing, Allocation and Deportation’. Only those receiving asylum would be authorized to leave the Anker Centers, and would then be integrated into German society. All asylum seekers who are denied entry would then be “immediately deported”.
Seehofer praised the initiative as “a breakthrough” in solving the problem. Six test centers should be established in Germany by the fall of 2018, including one in Bavaria. Soeder also backed the plan by saying he “does not understand why some German states refuse to establish the Anker Centers.”
Some German experts remain skeptical of the initiative.
“We do not see any benefit,” said Werner Schiffauer, a migration specialist and chair of the Migration Council, a network of about 150 academics in the German media. He warned that placing a large number of refugees in a facility would lead to greater “frustration” among asylum seekers, which would lead to aggression and criminalization.
“Conflicts will be fueled by the fact that asylum seekers will feel that certain groups are getting privileged treatment,” he said. About a third of all people sent to the Anker Centers could simply “disappear” since they would probably try to stay illegally in Germany, Schiffauer warned.
“In an attempt to create order and clarity, the Anker Centers would only create chaos and lead to further criminalization,” is one analytical forecast.
In early May, Germany witnessed a high profile incident at a refugee center used to house hundreds of asylum seekers, where an angry mob prevented police from deporting a Togolese immigrant, sparking concerns and debates over the state’s failure to enforce the law and maintain security.