Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s heartwarming speech asking Germans to look at refugee arrivals as opportunities, and her open-doors policy, won international praise.
But apparently now Germany is reconsidering its policy as perhaps too lax.
Roughly 770,000 asylum applications flooded across the border, many from countries not ravaged by war. Laborers from countries like Bangladesh arrived at Germany’s door, recounting the horror of working conditions at home. Many of these hopeful asylum-seekers had destroyed their passports, so they could not be sent back. Pakistan had to return 30 deportees to Germany after it could not ascertain their nationality.
Germany decided that it simply could not take all these people in. It had seen other countries struggle, rather ineffectively, with migrants. The United States, for example, sends back thousands of undocumented Mexican migrants each year, only to have them scrambling to get in again.
The only way it could keep migrants at bay was to help them make a better life in their home country.
The Washington Post reports that Germany is "bribing" migrants to make them go back. There is Lauand Sadek, an Iraqi who was offered a plane ticket and 6,000 euros to start a small business in Erbil.
“I would have stayed in Germany longer, but their offer helped me understand,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “It was time to go.”
There have also been more stringent migration laws put in place. Ahmadshakeb Baloch came to Germany six years ago after being threatened by the Taliban. In the years since, he had made a life in the country, working as a security guard and a chef. He learned German and each month, he made enough money to send back home.
In 2015, under the new laws, he finally received word that his application had been rejected. He also lost his job. Now, living on a meager 320 euros a month from state aid, Baloch says he has no money to send home.
“I wanted a new life, but they are making it so difficult for me here,” Baloch said, with a lump in his throat. “I sit by the window all day and think and cry and think. I won’t go back.
“I will die in Germany.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Michaela Rehle