The head of Germany’s federal police says that the country is Europe’s “number one destination” for illegal immigrants, with the number of cases increasing by 31.6 per cent between 2012 and 2013 to 56,000.
Dieter Romann, head of the Bundespolizei, said the number is still increasing: “In just the first five months of this year, the federal police have found over 5,000 illegal entries by cross-border rail traffic, which represents an increase of over 150 per cent over the same period last year.”
In an interview with Die Welt, Romann warned that the European Union asylum policy is failing.
He said the failure of some EU member states to apply properly the Dublin Regulation, which says the EU country an asylum-seeker enters first is the country which must process his claim, leaves Germany unable to transfer migrants to the member state responsible. Germany currently succeeds in transferring only 11 to 16 per cent.
He said that last year Germany took in twice as many asylum seekers as the United States, despite being much more densely populated.
He said there are illegal migrants who are being saved by the Italian navy from small boats trying to cross the Mediterranean, “but are then found in Germany.”
In April this year, Romann said, the Italian navy saved 5,700 Eritreans and, shortly after, 1,000 of them were found in Germany.
Others enter Germany illegally by way of the Balkans, and the German-French border “is coming increasingly into focus.”
Last year the federal police alone found 1,500 people smugglers: “That’s a growth rate of over 70 per cent compared to last year and continues to grow.”
He said they are usually backed by members of organised crime. The criminals charge from €3,000 (£2,400) to €20,000 (£15,900) a head for smuggling migrants into Germany. Therefore, “the fight against the smuggling crime is our absolute focus in the field of law enforcement,” he said.