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How Bavaria’s Primeminister Söder wants to deport refugees more efficiently

Since the introduction of the so called 'Integrationsgesetz' (integration law) and the 'Gefährdergesetz' (endangerment law), racist laws aiming to criminalize refugees in Bavaria, state repression has risen noticeably. This is going along with the revision of the law on police duty (Polizeiaufgabengesetz, PAG) and the reorganization of public authorities. What do refugees have to expect?

How Bavaria's Primeminister Söder wants to deport refugees more efficiently

Most of what the gov­ern­ment had announced in the renewed PAG is already part of refugees every­day life. The police state, that peo­ple in Bavaria fear, is real for refugees: in mid March, an ini­tial reg­is­tra­tion camp for refugees oblig­at­ed to leave the coun­try in Donauwörth, was besieged by police forces after refugees pre­vent­ed the depor­ta­tion of a Gam­bian. Hence, what will change for refugees?

How deportations were conducted so far

Accord­ing to Bavaria’s Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or, Joachim Her­rmann, the behav­ior of the refugees in Donauwörth was out­ra­geous, since the depor­ta­tion was made impos­si­ble and dam­age of prop­er­ty was assessed. This is how the long-term depor­ta­tion-process of the Gam­bian has end­ed since the whole process to deport the refugee had to be restart­ed. A new flight needs to be booked, coor­di­na­tion of police to enforce the depor­ta­tion as well as oth­er bureau­crat­ic and legal reg­u­la­tions are nec­es­sary for depor­ta­tions of refugees. Some­times refugees are dis­ap­pear­ing after they get noti­fied six to eight weeks ahead of their immi­nent depor­ta­tion. Arrest­ing refugees would be a cus­to­di­al mea­sure — refugees have to be picked up and tak­en to the sched­uled flight. To a cer­tain extend, this com­bi­na­tion of var­i­ous reg­u­la­tions is mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for Bavar­i­an author­i­ties to deport refugees. The new primem­i­nis­ter Markus Söder said he is aim­ing to change that.

Professionalizing deportations

Söder empha­sized in his first gov­ern­ment dec­la­ra­tion that he wants to deport refugees not only faster but also more con­se­quent­ly. There­fore, a new author­i­ty for depor­ta­tions, the so called ‘Lan­desamt für Asyl’ (Bavar­i­an State Office for asy­lum), will be formed in Manch­ing near Ingol­stadt. Dif­fer­ent respon­si­bil­i­ties are sup­posed to be com­bined in this sin­gle insti­tu­tion with about a thou­sand employ­ees. Book­ing and orga­ni­za­tion of depor­ta­tion flights as well as trans­porta­tion of refugees and police escorts are sup­posed to be tak­en over by the new Bavar­i­an State Office for asy­lum from a spe­cial police unit that was respon­si­ble so far. Fur­ther­more, coor­di­na­tion of col­lec­tive depor­ta­tions is con­sid­ered to be part of the new State Office – until now the gov­ern­ment of Upper Bavaria was in charge. The new Bavar­i­an State Office for asy­lum is rep­re­sent­ing the will of Söder and his rul­ing par­ty, the CSU, to rig­or­ous­ly enforce depor­ta­tions through admin­is­tra­tive sim­pli­fi­ca­tion. In order to pre­vent resis­tance against depor­ta­tions, Söder announced to build a new depor­ta­tion prison in Hof in Fran­co­nia with the capac­i­ty to accom­mo­date 150 refugees. The prison is planned to be built until 2019 and to be inte­grat­ed into the prison that already exists in Hof.

Minister of the Interior Hermann is supposed to put Söder’s plan into practice

Thus far, the min­istry for social affairs used to be con­cerned with issues of asy­lum and inte­gra­tion. Söder has now made the deci­sion to make them part of the com­pe­tences of the Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or under Joachim Her­mann. With a strong hand, Her­mann is sup­posed to take care of the acco­mo­da­tion of refugees, the so called ‘Asyl­be­wer­ber­leis­tungs­ge­setz’, the law reg­u­lat­ing the ben­e­fits grant­ed to asy­lum seek­ers, as well as issues of migra­tion coun­sel­ing. Söder had announced before that he intends to make the switch from mon­e­tary to non-mon­e­tary ben­e­fits in refugee shel­ters. Refugees are already stig­ma­tized trough the ‘Inte­gra­tions­ge­setz’ (inte­gra­tion law) and the ‘Gefährderge­setz’, the law con­cern­ing per­sons who are con­sid­ered to be threat­en­ing pub­lic safe­ty. Now refugees are sup­posed to be made into an issue of secu­ri­ty. The pre­dom­i­nant insti­tu­tion­al racism refugees expe­ri­ence every day is turned into a reg­u­la­to­ry task. The deci­sions about asy­lum appli­ca­tions was up until now the domain not of the Bavar­i­an State Office for asy­lum but of its fed­er­al coun­ter­part, the Fed­er­al Office for Migra­tion and Refugees (BAMF). Her­rmann has already announced talks with his par­ty col­league and Fed­er­al Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or Horst See­hofer regard­ing a Bavar­i­an bor­der police. Whether those talks will also deal with the ques­tion of the pow­er of ulti­mate deci­sion over asy­lum appli­ca­tions and whether there will be a trans­fer of com­pe­ten­cies from the fed­er­al to the state lev­el is unde­cid­ed as of yet.

Bavarian chauvinism

Bavaria’s new gov­ern­ment wants to dis­tin­guish itself as a trend­set­ter in ques­tions of secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy with its well known tough­ness. Fed­er­al mat­ters are sup­posed to be dealt with on a state lev­el – the respec­tive bills like the revi­sion of the Bavar­i­an police laws (PAG) are set­ting the scene for that. The new PAG is also sup­posed to serve as an inspi­ra­tion to oth­er states which would lead to wors­en­ing con­di­tions to refugees through­out the coun­try. This crim­i­nal­iza­tion and dehu­man­iza­tion has to be pre­vent­ed.

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