Lax and possibly corrupt control of migrants triggers probe, sows new political tensions
A scandal over the handling of asylum requests is threatening to destabilize German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fractious coalition and trigger a parliamentary inquiry into her open-arms migration policy.
A criminal investigation into alleged corruption at Germany’s migration agency has uncovered serious flaws in the processing of asylum claims going back several years, law-enforcement officials said.
The Federal Interior Ministry temporarily closed the agency’s branch in the city-state of Bremen last week after state prosecutors opened an investigation into civil servants, lawyers and interpreters suspected of colluding to grant asylum to at least a thousand migrants, including possible criminals and terror suspects, in exchange for money.
This week, as public pressure mounted on the government to lay out the full extent of alleged wrongdoings at the agency, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was summoned before parliament’s home-affairs committee to be grilled by lawmakers for several hours.
Pollsters warn the revelations could rekindle fears among voters that the state relinquished control over who enters the country. Such fears played a big role in turning the anti-immigration, anti-Islam Alternative for Germany, or AfD, from a fringe grouping into the largest opposition party in parliament in September’s election.
The allegations are also causing tension in Ms….