The conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is pushing for a parliamentary inquiry into the migrant policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. With an increasing number of reports of fraud in immigration offices across Germany coming to light, the AfD’s initiative might be able to muster support.
The motion for the inquiry would require 25% of lawmakers’ support. AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland has assured that he will rally other parties to support the initiative.
The specific point of interest of the proposed investigation would be the question of what precautions the German government has taken to deal with the flow of migrants. AfD also wants to know what “legal bases” allowed Merkel and her allies to invite refugees into Germany.
An inquiry into Merkel’s migration policy was a big promise of AfD’s 2017 campaign and an issue that helped the party gain a significant amount of support from German voters who were frustrated by the 2015 refugee crisis, particularly Merkel’s open door policy allowing more than a million refugees to enter the country.
The AfD’s motion comes amidst the latest scandal involving immigration offices across Germany.
“The cases with the BAMF [Federal Department of Migration and Asylum] and immigration policy cannot be seen separately,” AfD’s Gauland insisted.
This scandal was first revealed in April with reports that a former BAMF employee in Bremen was under investigation on suspicion of accepting bribes from at least 1,200 asylum seekers between 2013 and 2016.
The situation worsened earlier this month when BAMF announced that it would be reviewing some 18,000 cases of refugees in Bremen dating back to the year 2000, saying it had found approval of up to 2,000 applications between 2013 and 2016 that did not meet government criteria. Days later, the office added 10 additional field offices to its investigation list.
AfD and other critics of Merkel have been blaming the chancellor’s open door policy since it was introduced in 2015.
Concerns among German citizens intensified on New Year’s Eve the same year when a series of sexual attacks occurred in Cologne, most of which were committed by immigrants.
Numerous other attacks by refugees have been reported since, including the terrorist attack in Berlin, which saw a Tunisian asylum seeker drive a truck through a Christmas market in 2016, killing 12 people. In January 2018, a study found that the influx of refugees into Germany contributed significantly to the increase in violent crimes in the country.
Even the German government has seemed to recognize that this situation is unsustainable, eventually concluding an agreement with Turkey which stipulates Ankara agreeing to stop the flow of refugees across its border and to accept back asylum-rejected immigrants in Europe. In return, Turkey has received promises of billions of euros in aid to refugees and accelerated talks on joining the European Union (EU).
While Merkel has taken a more liberal stance on migration, other EU members have done the opposite. Hungary and Poland have rejected the refugee quotas set by Brussels, with the former building a barbed wire fence on its border in 2015 in an effort to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country while in transit to Western Europe. The Balkan countries have also closed their borders, preventing asylum seekers from crossing into their countries.