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Shared accommodation for refugees in Berlin-Spandau

Photo: Frederic Kern / IMAGO / Future Image

An extension of exit custody should prevent deportations from failing at the last moment in the future.

After a long tug of war in the coalition, the Bundestag passed a corresponding law in the evening with a majority of the traffic light - even if some Green MPs voted against it.

The law provides for a number of procedural simplifications and tightened rules to make it easier to deport rejected asylum seekers.

“Anyone who does not have the right to remain in Germany must leave Germany again,” emphasized Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD).

“This is a prerequisite for migration to be accepted in society as a whole and for integration to work.” The number of deportations had already increased by 27 percent last year.

With the new law, this trend will accelerate further.

In the past, deportations repeatedly failed because those affected went into hiding and could no longer be found.

For this reason, the statutory maximum duration of detention on departure will be extended from the current ten days to 28 days.

In addition, in the future, authorities representatives will be allowed to enter rooms in shared accommodation other than just the room of the person being deported.

“Germany needs more assertiveness when it comes to repatriating those who have no right to stay,” said FDP leader Christian Lindner.

“We are now creating this assertiveness,” wrote the Federal Finance Minister on Twitter, formerly X. The new law is “another component of our new realpolitik to limit illegal migration.”

The bill was briefly removed from the Bundestag agenda in the last week of the session before Christmas because the Greens had called for improvements.

At her insistence, those affected should now be provided with a lawyer.

For families with underage children, detention pending deportation is generally excluded.

In addition, the law provides for tougher action against smugglers.

Due to protests from human rights organizations, a subsequently inserted passage is intended to ensure that the sea rescue of refugees is not criminalized.

The day before the vote, some Greens had again expressed doubts as to whether the protection of sea rescuers from criminal prosecution was sufficiently secured.

The Green Party's legal policy spokesman, Helge Limburg, held out the prospect of further "clarification" in the event of legal uncertainties.

Nevertheless, there were some dissenting voices from his party.

CDU politician de Vries: law a “non-starter”

Clear criticism of the law came from the Union and the AfD, for whom the tightening did not go far enough.

The CDU MP Christoph de Vries complained that the changes implemented by the Greens would make an already weak law completely ineffective and described it as a “non-starter”.

The Left, on the other hand, sees the measures now agreed as a massive attack on fundamental rights and civil liberties.

The so-called Return Improvement Act includes around 40 individual measures.

This means that those in custody who are required to leave the country no longer have to be notified of their deportation.

The current one-month notice requirement for deportations after a year of toleration is also no longer applicable.

There are also new reasons for expulsion such as committing anti-Semitic crimes or entering the country with false documents.

For people without identification documents, it is also easier to read cell phone data in order to clarify identity and country of origin.