The vice president of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, fears that the number of Syrian migrants will double due to family reunification laws alone.
“The burden of family members’ immigration could be higher in the immediate future than the burden of newly arriving Syrian refugees,” said Johannes Singhammer, vice president of the Bundestag and member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
“According to my information from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees [BAMF], each recognised Syrian refugee will bring at least one family member,” at least doubling the number of Syrians in Germany, Singhammer said.
The Bundestag vice president stated that local authorities are faced with “an extraordinarily great challenge … There may not be enough living space, teachers, and educators at some point.”
Singhammer singled out Syrian migrants as in the first quarter of 2016 almost all – 99.9 per cent – had their asylum claims accepted or received a “secure status” – a total of around 82,000 people for that period alone, reports Focus.
Earlier this year, BAMF estimated that family reunification rules could add half a million Syrians to Germany’s migrant population. Since the beginning of the migrant crisis, the country has accepted over one million migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
CSU colleague and development minister Gerd Müller has stated he wants to introduce a cap on the number of migrants entering the country, saying that whilst Europe must display “great humanitarianism,” there is a limit.
“If we consider everywhere in the world where human dignity is trampled, it would certainly be more than a billion people. This makes it clear that we can not solve problems by accepting all refugees,” said Müller.
Singhammer has called for “safe cities” to be created in North Africa in which migrants’ asylum claims can be processed before allowing transit to Europe, echoing Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz’s proposal to process migrants off-shore on Greek islands.
Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CSU and minister-president of Germany’s largest state, Bavaria, has made it clear that his party insists on introducing a ceiling of 200,000 migrants per year.
The rift between Merkel’s CDU and Seehofer’s CSU have been widening since the migrant crisis, with Seehofer threatening to pull support for Merkel’s run for a fourth term as chancellor unless she introduces a cap on migrant numbers and a stricter migrant policy.
The coalition’s stability came under even greater threat since the Berlin Christmas market attack that saw rejected asylum seeker and Islamic State fighter Anis Amri drive a truck through a busy Christmas market killing 12 and injuring over 50.