Some 35,000 deportations took place in Germany in the last 18 months. More than 600 were abandoned, however. Pro-free movement groups are offering information on how to successfully hinder a deportation.
Escorted by two officers, a migrant boards a plane. He is about to be deported back to his home country. But minutes before takeoff, he and other refugees refuse to travel. Perhaps they begin to shout, refuse to fasten seatbelts, tell the pilot that they're not traveling of their own free will.
Such was the case in more than 330 deportations that were abandoned between January 2015 and June 2016, interior ministry figures have shown. In total, more than 600 deportations from Germany by plane were abandoned.
In 160 cases, the airline or pilot refused to take the migrants. According to interior ministry figures, 46 of those cases involved German airline Lufthansa, 23 involved Air Berlin and 20 Germanwings. In 108 cases, the deportation couldn't take place as the person concerned was ill.
The largest number of migrants resisting deportation was from African countries such as Eritrea and Gambia, which each saw more than 30 such cases. This was followed by migrants from Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Cameroon, each with between 18 and 23 cases. Another 13 cases were reported among Syrian migrants and another nine from Afghan migrants.
Methods by which migrants resist their deportation are not unheard of, however, with tips now easily accessible online.
Advice website "w2eu," which provides "independent information for refugees and migrants coming to Europe," describes how German police allegedly "often behave recklessly, and often also brutally, to enforce an ordered deportation." The site advises that once on the plane, deportees "should explain that they are not taking this flight willingly."
"Usually a loud 'no' is enough," the website reads. If that doesn't help, the site suggests "loud screams, refusing to sit down, refusing to buckle yourself in or throwing yourself on the floor."
During deportations, however, an independent body is usually on hand to oversee the behavior of authorities as well as the migrants being deported.
One of the three main airports in Germany where such deportations are carried out is Frankfurt International. Two posts have functioned there since 2006 to oversee deportations.
"Since a death in 1999, there have been suggestions that human rights could be violated during deportations," Diana Nunez told DW in a statement.
Observation of the deportations aims to "make the processes transparent," Nunez said.
In only 37 cases, a deportation was abandoned after the countries of origin refused to accept their nationals.
An unidentified source at Germany's interior ministry told German newspaper "Bild," however, that this was a "major obstacle in the implementation of deportations."
The problem is "the lack of cooperation of some destination countries in the identification of its nationals and the issuing of passport substitute papers," the source said.
Resistance from fellow passengers
It isn't just migrants, however, who are opposing their deportation from Germany and other EU countries. Most recently on Wednesday, two Germans were thrown off a flight from Brussels after showing their support for a migrant who was due to be deported to Cameroon. Three French nationals and a Cameroonian were also removed from the flight.
According to a spokesperson for Belgian police, the incident began after the migrant, who was accompanied by two officers, began yelling onboard the aircraft.