Germany’s recent, surprise announcement of renewed border controls seems a direct consequence of its ill-fated decision to throw open its gates to all Syrians, a policy that has been fraught with problems from the outset.
Since Syrians enjoy a privileged status, suddenly everyone applying for asylum turns out to be Syrian.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Minister of the Interior of the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lorenz Caffier, confirmed suspicions about the origin of many supposed Syrian refugees. “At least a quarter of those refugees allegedly coming from Syria are not from Syria, but from other Arab or African countries,” said Caffier.
Caffier’s statement echoes the experience of Rainer Wendt, head of the German Police Union: “Almost without exception, every refugee pretends to be a Syrian when in fact, many come from other countries, even from sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
“All present themselves as Syrians,” said a police officer stationed in Bavaria to Spiegel Online, “even if they are obviously black Africans.”
The discovery echoes comments made by the chief of the European border force FRONTEX, who said last week, “A lot of people get into Turkey [with] Syrian fake papers, because they know that they’ll get easier asylum in the EU… People who use these fake passports, speak mostly Arabic. They come from North Africa, the Middle East, but are economic refugees”.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has criticised the European policy of open doors to “alleged-Syrian refugees” as signifying a sort of collective amnesia of the “lessons of 9/11.”
Huckabee made the comments on his podcast, “The Huckabee Exclusive,” where he offers commentary on current political events.
“Many Europeans have also forgotten the lessons of 9/11 as they allow waves of alleged Syrians refugees to stream across their borders and denounce anyone who questions it as being intolerant,” declared Huckabee. “Even as some of the newcomers were attacking and cursing police, throwing bottles, and shouting ‘Allahu akbar.’”
Earlier in the podcast, Huckabee said it was harder for Americans to get on planes through airport security than for terrorists to get into our country through our “very open borders.”
The explosion of faux “Syrian refugees” is just one element of the negative fallout from Germany’s decision to allow the unrestricted travel of Syrians into Germany. It has also irritated the countries neighboring Germany, especially those in Eastern Europe, by making Germany into a forceful magnet for refugees, who necessarily must cross through bordering states to reach it.
One commentator has suggested that Germany’s decision to reinstate border controls signifies an admission that “the practice of granting Syrian refugees asylum and allowing them unrestricted passage into Germany has failed.”
The abrupt arrival of some 60,000 people into Munich since the end of August has proved far too many for the city, showing that “while in theory the fundamental right to asylum knows no upper limit, in practice this limit is reached in a matter of days.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome