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Bavaria unveils carrot-and-stick asylum center

July 27, 2018

Bavarian Premier Markus Söder has unveiled the German state's very own asylum center. Söder said the center will boost the chances of asylum for those willing to integrate, but also allow for faster deportations.

Bavaria’s Center for Asylum and Repatriation
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Balk

The Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) announced it will take a carrot-and-stick approach to migration as it unveiled its new Center for Asylum and Deportation on Friday in the town of Manching.

Bavarian Premier Markus Söder said the new center would help the German state strike a "better balance" when it comes to integrating migrants.

On the one hand, the new center would make it more likely for asylum-seekers to find work or enroll in training schemes "if they make the effort to integrate," Söder said.

However, the Bavarian regional government also intends to impose a more hard-line approach to deportations. A quick termination of the residency would be the "top priority" for those thought to pose a risk, the Bavarian premier said. Any migrant found guilty of committing violent acts and crimes would be returned to his or her home country as quickly as possible, according to the conservative CSU.

Open EU a thing of the past?

Söder said the center's new guidelines were symbolic of the CSU's "humane and orderly" approach to migration.

Those remarks were echoed by Bavaria's interior minister, Joachim Hermann, who said the southern German state would take "visibly swift action" against delinquent asylum seekers in order to guarantee the rule of law.

The CSU also announced on Friday that it intends to raise the financial incentives for voluntary repatriation.

The new Bavarian office for asylum, which will act as a regional variant of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), was one of several initiatives Söder launched following his election as premier in March.

The office will officially open on August 1, along with seven controversial "anchor centers," where migrants will be kept for up to 18 months while their asylum requests are processed. 

Bavarian state office for asylum and deportation
The Bavarian Office for Asylum and Repatriation is located on the grounds of the Max Immelmann Barracks in Manching.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Balk

Asylum office unveiling met with protests

Friday's unveiling was met with demonstrations organized by the Bavarian Refugee Council.

"Deportations and the CSU's right-wing election campaign strategy are no reason for us to celebrate," the council said in its call to rally in Manching.

Christine Kamm, a Green Party lawmaker in the Bavarian state parliament, said the office was a case of tax fraud and called for the Court of Auditors to investigate its financing. "It is incomprehensible that Bavarian tax revenues are being channeled toward what are traditionally tasks for the federal government."

Read more: Germany: Thousands gather in Munich to protest Bavarian ruling party CSU

Anton Hofreiter, the Green Party's parliamentary leader in Berlin, described the Bavarian asylum office as "about as needed as a hole in the head."

"The Bavarian state government continues to err in its asylum policy," Hofreiter told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. "With this state office, the CSU is campaigning by exploiting those in need of protection."

Ulla Jelpke, a Bundestag member for Germany's Left Party, accused the CSU of "posing as agitator shortly before the state elections, promising to first lock up as many refugees as possible and then to deport them."

Speaking to the same newspaper, Jelpke said that "such an irresponsible policy will lead to a massive poisoning of Germany's social climate."

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dm/aw (dpa, AFP, AP)