While the official received Cabinet approval for his plan on Wednesday, the German states have diverging views on the initiative. Certain states disapprove of the detention of asylum seekers marked for deportation in state jails rather than pre-deportation holding facilities.
Sputnik has discussed the new plan with Joachim Paul, member of parliament in Rhineland-Palatinate and deputy leader of the AfD in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Sputnik: Interior Minister Horst Seehofer presented a plan with rules aimed at making it harder for failed asylum seekers to avoid deportation. However, the Alternative for Germany party reacted to the plan, saying the government was "hindering deportations". How can you explain such a reaction?
Joachim Paul: The bill presented by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is nothing but a misnomer. The law will by no means keep what its title promises. Even some CDU-politicians have strongly expressed scepticism. We expect no substantial change in German asylum policy. Failed asylum seekers will still be granted a tolerance permit even if they can't prove their identity to authorities. So asylum cheaters will be allowed to remain in Germany.
Sputnik: According to the interior minister, expulsions often break down because deportees are hiding. What do you think is an alternative to prison? What measures should be taken to track migrants who have been refused asylum?
Joachim Paul: Detention pending deportation is only permitted under certain circumstances (e.g., if an asylum seeker is unwilling to cooperate with the authorities). Keeping this in mind, the increase in deportation cells will have no effect at all. It will still be possible for failed asylum seekers to submerge as long as detention will not be applied nationwide. Associations and NGOs publishing deportation dates will still not to be punished in the future.
Sputnik: The plan also proposes reductions in social welfare grants for asylum seekers that were already granted asylum in other EU states. What is your take on this?
Joachim Paul: It's true that the bill proposes a reduction of social benefits towards certain asylum seekers (Dublin) and asylum cheaters, but on the other hand there is an intended increase of "pocket money" for all asylum seekers, which we see as a wrong incentive.
Sputnik: Reports say that Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is ready to impose sanctions on EU countries that oppose the reception of refugees, such as Hungary. Can we consider Seehofer's plan as an indication that Germany has officially changed its rhetoric towards refugees?
Joachim Paul: The granting of tolerance permits, as well as the enforcement of deportation, are within the jurisdiction of the states (Bundesländer) and municipalities (Kommunen). They will keep broad discretion to interpret law and usually they decide in favour of the asylum seekers. We think that the law will not change the factual situation by any means.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.