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.
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.