Germany has taken in almost a million refugees from Ukraine. In addition, there are also 71,000 people who have entered the country illegally since the beginning of the year. Heiko Teggatz, head of the federal police union, calls for immediate border controls.
After a tip from the public on Wednesday, federal police officers uncovered the alleged smuggling of a total of 16 men and two young people on the A15. 16 of them identified themselves with Turkish passports, two were traveling without ID.
No one was able to present any “residence-legitimating documents”. According to initial findings, the men and young people got out of several vehicles registered in Poland at the Forst junction in order to march from there into the adjacent wooded area, where they were finally apprehended.
Press releases like this one from the Berlin Federal Police Headquarters are currently being sent out more frequently again. Thousands are currently arriving in Germany via Poland and the Czech Republic – illegally.
Not really a problem for the Federal Republic. However, almost a million refugees from Ukraine are already here. You are welcome in every way. However, a number of cities and communities are groaning under this challenge and no longer know what to do with the many people.
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“We’re right in the middle of 2015,” says Heiko Teggatz, head of the federal police union, to FOCUS online. “Not because of the number of illegal entries detected. In fact, we’re a long way behind. But we have an accommodation problem.”
There are already more than 900,000 Ukrainians in Germany who fled from the war, but they do not appear in any statistics because they entered the country legally and rightly so.
“As far as the total number of people to be accommodated in the municipalities is concerned, we are well beyond 2015,” emphasizes Teggatz.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) also recently warned that, given the increasing number of war refugees and asylum seekers, the municipalities were under a lot of pressure and were reaching the limits of their capacity. The Association of Towns and Municipalities takes a similar view.
And for the President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, field camps or gyms are not an ideal solution, as he emphasized in October in this context.
Developments in Ukraine depend at least on the extent to which winterized accommodation can be made available in the country itself. “In addition, there are reports that there is growing pressure on Syrian refugees in Turkey, who are therefore also considering fleeing to Europe.”
According to a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), the Federal Police found a total of 71,011 people entering Germany illegally from the beginning of the year up to and including October 31.
In July there were still 6,941, in August already 8,846, in September 12,701 and in October 13,354. However, the October number has not yet been quality assured.
“The growth, particularly in the two main countries of origin, Afghanistan and Syria, can be attributed primarily to the fact that, on the one hand, migration pressure in Turkey has increased noticeably in recent months,” said the BMI spokeswoman.
“In 2022 alone, more than 40,000 Afghan nationals were forcibly returned to their homeland.” On the other hand, more flight capacities from Greece will be available after the summer season. This will also have a delayed effect on access to asylum in Germany.
“Increased arrivals, particularly on the so-called Central Mediterranean route from Tunisia and Libya, but also from Turkey to Italy and the Western Balkans,” reports the BMI spokeswoman.
Reasons for the current development are, among other things, catch-up effects after the travel restrictions due to the corona pandemic, the worsening of the economic or domestic political situation in classic host and transit countries such as Turkey, Tunisia or Libya, which led to increased migration movements.
Federal police union boss Teggatz complained that he “unfortunately hasn’t received any current figures on illegal entries for weeks”. The reason he gives is that the ministry no longer publishes the intended migration analysis report on the intranet.
However, this is important beyond the pure numbers, so that the officials can adjust their tactics to the local conditions. It also lists preferred smuggler routes and which vehicles are used.
“I get reports from my colleagues that they haven’t had access to it since September – and they need it urgently,” says Teggatz. “Imagine you’re driving to the border area and don’t know what to expect there.”
Teggatz finds another point even more annoying: “For example, the Federal Police on the border with the Czech Republic or Poland is not a border authority because it is not a Schengen external border,” as he says.
“That means we’re not allowed to turn anyone back at the border, even if they don’t have permission to enter the country.” The federal police are a better transport company on the border with the Czech Republic, but not a border authority.
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Even at the Swiss border there are currently problems. “The number of unauthorized entries at the German-Swiss borders has risen exorbitantly,” reports Teggatz.
“This is due to the fact that the Swiss are obviously waving illegal migrants through to us without fulfilling their Schengen obligations.”
The federal police union official makes it clear: “It’s frustrating for my colleagues to have the legal mandate to prevent unauthorized entry, but to quickly realize that they can’t do their job at all.”
After the production of an ad, those who entered the country without permission are still going further into the country. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BaMF) will take over from here.
And the police pass on the completed criminal complaints to the responsible public prosecutor’s office. “If thousands of reports are being received about unauthorized entry at the moment, you can imagine how seriously these reports are being pursued,” emphasizes Teggatz. “In principle, my colleagues are currently working for the bin as far as that is concerned.”
The situation at the border with Austria is different. “We have had actual border controls here since 2015 and also the possibility of preventing people from entering the country and sending them back,” Teggatz continues.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior says: “We are reacting to the current situation with a bundle of measures.” These included intensifying the fight against people smuggling and expanding border police cooperation as well as supporting the federal states in the event of capacity bottlenecks during admission.
“We have extended the temporary border controls by the federal police at the German-Austrian border,” said the BMI spokeswoman. “At the German-Czech border, the federal police are currently intensifying their search for veils.”
In addition, there is the return offensive agreed in the coalition agreement – with increased support for the countries in the event of returns – and the expansion of migration partnerships with third countries.
“The veiled manhunt is not only very labor-intensive, it also doesn’t give you the level of control that you can achieve with stationary border controls,” notes Heiko Teggatz.
“My colleagues have to get out of this bone mill and need the legal powers to be able to act as border police,” he demands.
The trade unionist has a clear idea of what is urgently needed now. “Months ago, I asked Minister Faeser to report stationary border controls to the Czech Republic and Poland, and due to current developments also to Switzerland, to the European Union,” he says.
“Purely and simply so that we as the Federal Police can do our job there. We’re not allowed to do our job. That’s the problem.”
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