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German minister proposes asylum checks at land borders

30 September 2015, 21:41

Berlin - Germany could in future check asylum claims as migrants arrive at its land borders, the way it already does at airports, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere proposed Wednesday.

He stressed that the cabinet had not yet signed off on the idea, but said his ministry was drafting legislation that would be in line with EU rules, speaking on Berlin public radio RBB.

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"We know this already from airport procedures. You can already hold someone at an airport, check whether his asylum request is obviously unfounded and send him back," the minister said.

De Maiziere said he was thinking of a similar procedure at land crossings, which would bring Germany in line with EU directives, adding that "this will now surely be debated".

He did not provide details of the plan notably regarding the infrastructure that would be needed to carry out land border controls.

Germany, the EU's top destination for people fleeing war and misery, in mid-September temporarily reintroduced such checkpoints on land crossings, especially with Austria, to stem and control the huge influx.

The month of September saw an all-time record of 170,000 migrant arrivals into Bavaria, and Germany expects to take in up to one million migrants altogether this year.

The conservative CSU party ruling the southern state of Bavaria, the main gateway, has urged the establishment of "transit zones" where asylum-seekers could be quickly registered or rejected.

The German government on Tuesday added Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to a list of so-called safe origin countries, which will result in swifter deportations for asylum seekers from those states.

The government is also seeking to reduce payouts to migrants, with a preference for distributing benefits in kind to refugees rather than cash.

Those with a good chance of winning asylum should also be given integration classes, according to the new measures that would, pending approval, enter into force on November 1.



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