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    Police officers escort rejected refugees who are boarding an aircraft at the airfield of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, southern Germany, on December 9, 2015, as the plane brings rejected asylum seekers back to their country

    Deportations in Germany Almost Doubled in 2015 – Interior Ministry

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    Almost 21,000 people whose asylum applications had been rejected were deported last year from Germany, while around 11,000 were deported in 2014, according to German media.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — The number of deportations of failed asylum-seekers from Germany in 2015 almost doubled compared with the previous year, local media reported Wednesday, citing the German Interior Ministry.

    Almost 21,000 people whose asylum applications had been rejected were deported last year, while around 11,000 were deported in 2014, the ARD TV channel reported, citing interior ministry statistics.

    In addition, more than 37,000 migrants — mostly from Albania, Kosovo and Serbia — left Germany voluntarily, according to the channel. An unknown number of foreigners have left the country without informing the immigration authorities, a source in the interior ministry said, as cited by the media outlet.

    Europe is struggling to find a solution to a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Germany has been the key destination for thousands of refugees and immigrants coming to Europe since the start of 2015. Last year, it registered over a million asylum applications, nearly five times more than the number registered in 2014, according to the interior ministry’s estimates.

    After dozens of women in the German city of Cologne were reportedly robbed and sexually assaulted on New Year's Eve by groups of aggressive men, mostly of Arab and North African appearance, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that the German authorities would relax the rules for deporting immigrants who have been convicted of  crimes.

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