German government adopts new law to expand immigrant deportations


German government adopts new law to expand immigrant deportations

Peter Schwarz

19 April 2019

Asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected are to be ruthlessly bullied, persecuted, detained and deported. In summary, this describes the content of the Orderly Return Act adopted by Germany’s federal cabinet on Wednesday. It now only has to be approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat, the lower and upper houses of Germany’s parliament, where, with a few cosmetic changes, the law is assured of winning a majority.

The draft bill, prepared jointly by the Interior Ministry under the leadership of Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union, CSU) and the Ministry of Labour led by Hubertus Heil (Social Democratic Party, SPD), was made public several weeks ago and has already provoked widespread protest and opposition. It abrogates fundamental democratic rights and in parts violates European law. Nonetheless, all of the SPD ministers backed the new law, including Justice Minister Katarina Barley, the SPD’s lead candidate in the European elections.

With its new law, the grand coalition is in effect enforcing the far-right policies of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Although the right-wing extremist party won just 12.6 percent of the vote at the last federal election, it is dictating the government’s refugee policy.

The Orderly Return Act enforces the following changes to existing legal instruments:

* Refugees required to leave the country can be taken into custody much more easily than is currently the case. To this end, the prerequisites to deem someone a potential flight risk have been reduced.

* In order to make available a sufficient number of detention places, the European Separation Order, which stipulates that detention pending deportation and standard…

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