The Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, voted to change the status of three Maghreb states — Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco — as well as Georgia to "safe" for refugee deportation Friday, Deutsche Welle reports.
What this means is that citizens of those countries will no longer be able to apply for refugee status in Germany. The deportation of rejected applicants from those countries will also be expedited.
"Countries of safe return are those where refugees have a very remote chance of being granted asylum," Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told parliamentarians. "Classifying countries as such accelerates the asylum application process and allows us to terminate stays in Germany when applications are rejected," he added.
However, the legislation still needs to pass the Bundesrat, the upper parliament, which is now dominated by the left-wing Greens, who form governments in nine out of 16 federal German states. The party has already expressed its opposition to the legislation during discussions in Bundestag.
With support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CSU/CDU and the Social Democrats plunging recently, many observers speculate that the next government will be dominated by a coalition of the Greens and the Conservatives. The two parties have managed to cooperate with a certain degree of success on the regional level in several federal states, DW report says.
The ongoing migrant crisis, which reached its peak in 2014 and 2015, has changed the look of European politics, giving rise to nationalist movements across the EU, which advocate for tougher regulations and restrictions regarding policies on illegal immigration. A number of countries have already implemented restrictions in order to keep the influx of illegal immigrants at bay.