Germany is struggling to deport foreigners because embassy workers from their country of origin keep hanging up the phone when the government tries to reach them, a state minister has said.
Tamara Zieschang, the state interior minister in Saxony-Anhalt, warned that around two-thirds of the countries involved in deportations were refusing to cooperate.
“The Cameroon embassy, for example, does not answer our letters. And people also hang up on the phone straight away when it is clear: it is us again,” she told German newspaper Volkstimme.
“The proportion of uncooperative countries of origin in Saxony-Anhalt is around two-thirds. Returns to these countries are not possible at all or only to a very limited extent,” Ms Zieschang added.
Other countries allegedly refusing to assist in deportation orders included Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Guinea-Bissau.
In January, the German parliament approved a new raft of laws that would make it easier to deport rejected asylum seekers. The new rules permit searches of a foreigner’s residence to prove their identity, and in some cases removes the authorities’ obligation to give a person advance notice of their deportation.
And in cases where a foreigner is a member of a criminal organisation, the maximum length of pre-deportation custody has been increased from 10 to 28 days.
A spokesman for Saxony-Anhalt’s interior minister told German newspaper Bild that it is not currently possible to deport any Syrians or Afghans in criminal cases, and called on Olaf Scholz’s federal government to take more action.
“Germany must succeed in what Estonia has been doing for a long time, namely, returning dangerous people and criminals to Syria and Afghanistan. It is the federal government’s job to create paths and opportunities,” the spokesman said.
According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, rejected asylum seekers can be granted temporary residence on grounds of illness, lost documents or a child with German residency status.
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