Berlin currently only deports criminals. The red-red-green government relies on its coalition agreement. There is now angry protest against this. Especially since Berlin is obviously acting quite hypocritically.

Deportation of persons who are obliged to leave the country: for many years this has been one of the biggest political issues, both at state and federal level. On the one hand, it is about who should actually be deported where and when. That is the domestic political component. And the other bone of contention is foreign policy, because many countries of origin are opposed to it and often don’t want their own people. There are currently problems on both fronts.

The state of Berlin is at the center of the domestic German debate. As the “Welt am Sonntag” (WamS) reports, the red-green-red government is currently refusing to implement most of the deportations. For humanitarian reasons, only criminals are deported from Berlin in winter. The left-wing partners in the Berlin Senate have recorded this approach in their coalition agreement. There it says: “In winter, deportations should be avoided if weather conditions make it humanitarian.”

A few weeks ago, 600 Moldovans who were required to leave the country were to be deported to their homeland. Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) dropped plans and received praise from the coalition partners. Green politician Vasili Franco said: “We must not use double standards when dealing with refugees. Deportations to Moldova are not justifiable for humanitarian reasons. It’s below zero there, and not even the power supply is guaranteed. We welcome that the government guidelines are now being implemented together.”

There is now vehement resistance to this practice: the CDU and CSU accuse Berlin of violating a unanimous agreement between the states that was only a few months old. In it, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is in the hands of the SPD, is called upon to “renewedly and emphatically work within the federal government and at EU level to strengthen the previous approaches, especially in countries of origin that are particularly uncooperative in terms of return policy”. So there shouldn’t be any exceptions like in the capital, the newspaper reports.

Bavaria’s Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann (CSU), railed: “The general suspension of deportations in the winter period practiced by Berlin is neither substantive nor regulatory or legally comprehensible.” a disservice”. And his Saxon counterpart Armin Schuster (CDU) assists in the WamS: “Berlin’s waiver of all repatriations is lacking in solidarity in several respects.” For example, Saxony had to postpone a collective repatriation to Vietnam because of Berlin’s attitude. “With this, Berlin is once again sending the wrong signal in the tense migration situation and is even reinforcing it itself.”

The Federal Police takes a differentiated look at the situation. “Berlin has been suspending deportations in winter for many years, because people from the Western Balkans are often involved. The winters are very harsh there. What must not happen, however, is that offenders and those who are at risk get a delay,” says Andreas Roßkopf, chairman of the police union – federal police district, to FOCUS online. “However, this does not seem to be the case.” However, the federal police are not entirely happy with the procedure in Berlin. Instead of a blanket winter guarantee for people to be deported from all countries, the cases should be considered individually. “The handling in Berlin is worth considering. Because we have big problems with the countries of origin anyway. Any delay further minimizes the number of deportations.”

And quite obviously, Berlin only pretends to be “humanitarian” and lets others do the difficult and politically sensitive work. For example, the city recently canceled a deportation flight to Georgia from the capital’s BER airport, according to the “WamS”. That flight, however, ultimately started anyway – just not from Berlin, but from Lower Saxony. Also on board were those who were obliged to leave Berlin.

According to the report, federal officials say that Berlin is currently offering other federal states to actively deport criminals for their flights. The spokesman for Berlin’s interior administration, Cablitz, said that it was “quite common” for federal states to take on deportations for others. The Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior did not comment on the process on request.

And Federal Police Chief Roßkopf also warns that Berlin should only use the help of other countries for dangerous people or criminals during its winter stop. If, on the other hand, “normal” people to be deported are simply handed over to other countries, this is “surprising”.

The SPD interior expert Lars Castellucci defends his colleagues in the Berlin state government: “When it comes to repatriations, we are also taking on a difficult legacy from sixteen years of the Union-led Ministry of the Interior. It is our goal to finally bring order in here and enforce the rule of law. However, this also means that we cannot repatriate people if the humanitarian situation in their home countries does not permit it. Our courts forbid us that,” he told FOCUS online.

The whole thing is quite uncomfortable for the SPD. Because the coalition partners in the SPD-led federal government had set themselves the goal of speeding up deportations and launching a “repatriation offensive”.

However, this project is currently extremely difficult to implement for foreign policy reasons. Because not only that the countries of origin resist the admission of their citizens. Allied EU countries are also making life difficult for the German authorities, reports the “WamS”. Accordingly, Italy is currently not allowing landings of charter planes in which people are sitting who first entered EU soil in Italy and are now being brought back under the “Dublin” agreement.

SPD interior expert Castellucci therefore has high hopes in the new “Special Commissioner for Migration Agreements”, the FDP politician Joachim Stamp. “We finally have to meet the countries of origin on an equal footing, offer cooperation and put together packages that are so attractive that they will take their nationals back if they do not receive protection from us. But legal routes to labor migration are much more important. Almost half of those who arrive have not experienced any persecution, they are coming to a dead end here, which is bad for everyone. We need workers and we need to make it easier for people to come to us through proper channels. The laws on this are due in the first half of the year.”

Surf tip: Official statistics – Germany: Number of foreigners and people with a migration background