Carsten Linnemann, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, has called for children with poor German language skills to be excluded from compulsory education.
“To put it in a nutshell: A child who barely speaks and understands German has no place yet in a primary school,” Linnemann, deputy chair of the CDU's parliamentary group, told the German newspaper Rheinische Post.
Calling for tougher pre-matriculation language requirements, Linnemann admitted that “it costs money” but that “a lack of integration and education are much more expensive at the end of the day”.
The remarks, which came in an apparent reference to migrant children, immediately drew criticism from some German politicians.
Speaking to the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, Karin Prien, the CDU education minister in Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein state, in turn slammed Linnemann’s remarks as “populist nonsense” and “the completely wrong path”.
Ahmad Mansour, a prominent German-Palestinian-Israeli psychologist studying extremism, however, took to Twitter to defend Linnemann, pointing out that “some want to purposefully misunderstand someone”.
“It's come to an industry of outrage! Objective differentiated dispute is a thing of yesterday,” he tweeted.
Earlier, a mother and her son were allegedly pushed in front of an approaching high-speed train in Frankfurt by a 40-year-old Eritrean who illegally arrived in Switzerland in 2006.
Commenting on the issue, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer insisted that the German government “cannot allow either the exploitation or the downplaying of crimes by immigrants”.
Since 2015, Germany has welcomed over a million refugees, generating harsh criticism of Merkel’s “open borders policy”, including her failure to curtail migration crisis-related crime.