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    German Ministry Mulls Stripping Refugees Concealing Identity of Benefits

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    Earlier, police reported that four drunken asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan and Iran had attacked and injured a dozen people in the Bavarian town of Amberg while shouting racist slurs.

    Germany's Interior Ministry is considering a variety of sanctions against asylum seekers who wilfully conceal their identity, with possible measures including the withdrawal of residence status rights and social assistance, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Interior Ministry Stephan Mayer told Focus Online.

    "We want to be stricter, especially in matters of concealing identity," he said. "Those who consistently refuse to cooperate in obtaining a replacement passport document or establishing their identity [with German authorities] must be treated much worse in terms of being granted legal residence status or the provision of social assistance," Mayer said.

    Currently, upwards of half of recently arriving asylum seekers in Germany do not have identity papers of any kind. Last month, the German cabinet adopted a new law stipulating that refugees can only receive vocational training and the right to work if their identities could be established.

    Earlier on Wednesday, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer recommended stricter deportation laws on refugees who engage in violence, after a group of teenage asylum seekers partook in a spate of random drunken punching and kicking attacks at a train station in the Bavarian town of Amberg on Saturday night.

    "If asylum seekers commit violent crimes, they must leave our country. If existing laws are not sufficient, they must be changed," Seehofer said in an interview with Bild.

    "The events in Amberg have upset me tremendously. These are violent excesses which we cannot tolerate," the interior minister added.

    The Amberg attackers remain in custody in separate detention centres on multiple charges of causing dangerous bodily harm.

    In his Focus Online interview, Mayer said the CSU has prioritised the improved enforcement of deportations, with one troublespot being migrants who can't be found by authorities on the day that they are set to be deported.

    In late 2017, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and Seehofer's Christian Social Union parties in Bavaria agreed to a 200,000-per-year limit for refugees after several million migrants and asylum seekers entered the country in the previous two years.

    Chancellor Merkel has received considerable criticism for her earlier "open-door" migration policy, which has led to political setbacks for her party and an increase in social tensions in Germany. Late last year, Merkel resigned as leader of the CDU, and announced that she would not seek reelection as chancellor once her term ends in 2021. Her decision has been attributed in part to her migration policy.

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    Tags:
    asylum seeker, status, refugee, benefits, German Interior Ministry, Horst Seehofer, Germany
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