Christian Osterhaus, who has dedicated much of his live to humanitarian projects, provided financial support to two underage Syrians. He also signed a paper stating that he's prepared to serve as their financial and legal guarantor until the two receive asylum in the country.
This year, he received a letter from the city authorities stating that he was obliged to pay 7,239 euros to the city budget, reflecting the state's expenses connected with the two refugees for 3 years.
Sputnik discussed this with Nicole Hoechst, a Member of Parliament representing AfD Rhineland-Palatinate in the Bundestag.
Sputnik: It was reported that some seven thousand guarantors across Germany were affected by demands for payments for assisting refugees; how could this have happened, from your point of view?
Nicole Hoechst: It's a little bit complicated. Those guarantees were issued to assure legal entry into Germany, into German territory, for the migrants in question. You need to know that if someone who is not an EU citizen wants to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, he or she normally seeks or needs a visa. A German citizen can issue a so-called formal obligation by which he or she guarantees to be financially responsible for the sustentation of a person seeking entry, including costs for sustentation, health insurance and nursing insurance. This is German law, intended to protect German taxpayers from the costs of these migrants. Normally, those formal obligations expire automatically after three years, or if the purpose of the stay in Germany changes. Now, back to those some seven thousand guarantors, they were informed by the Federal State that their guarantees would cease to exist after the migrants' status changes to accepted refugees. But now, the German Federal Administrative Court has ruled otherwise because of the purpose of the stay, humanitarian protection, does not cease to exist even if the title of the stay changes. And that's now the problem — the guarantors need to pay because German bureaucracy has to act on the court rule.
Sputnik: Were these German individuals informed that there would be some financial recompense for these asylum seekers in the first place?
Nicole Hoechst: I think they have been informed. As you know, there are always two or more different opinions on law; this is why we have a Federal Court and this is the final judgement which has been placed in this case. The ministries of the states which have informed those guarantors of their rights have not voluntarily ill-informed them, because we haven't had the court rule by that time. This is the real irony — those people believed what they were told, and the German court that is responsible for acting out German law ruled otherwise.
Sputnik: What is the current situation? You got the legal system saying that they must pay, and then the Labor Ministry stating they shouldn't pay; it's all very un-German-like as usually German process is very specific and organized, but it's all a bit of a mess. What can you say about it?
Nicole Hoechst: I can only tell you about this mess that it has all started with the misjudged opening of German borders by Madame Merkel in 2015; it was illegal and it has put the German law system in chaos. Germany is a mess at the moment. In the AfD, we are very happy about being in Parliament so now we can take the debate on those subjects into German Parliament and into the Bundestag as well. As we have discovered, the German government wanted to place their signatures very silently on the Global compact for migration, which ensures even more contingents of the so-called refugees, their entry into Germany and into German systems.
Sputnik: It seems to me that this money is never going to be received. I don't think it will ever be paid, would you agree with that?
Nicole Hoechst: I would most certainly agree. I think we can also agree on one fact — if we don't find a solution to this mass migration, Europe and Germany, every country in Europe will cease to exist not only as homeland for people as they know it, but also financially because, as you've already named it, [the question is] who will pay the costs. We cannot go on inviting the whole world into Europe, into Germany most particularly, and think that we will be able to pay for it. This is nonsense and people need to get it. This is not a humanitarian side on those things because we can no longer act humanitarian-ly in any way if we don't have any money left for us or for anyone else in the world. We cannot make it.
Sputnik: How would you assess the current situation with migration in Germany? You've had this fight now for the last three or four years since a million immigrants came into the country; how has it changed since 2015? Has the AfD Party been able to achieve its goals on migration, or are you still in that situation where you're fighting for your country?
Nicole Hoechst: We're still in the same situation where we're fighting for our country, but we can do it more openly now. The press can no longer ignore us because we can debate in Parliament and there's the media covering those debates. We get mass media coverage, not always in a good way, but we are still reaching people out there.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.