Germany has been forced to admit it has failed to keep track of migration to the country, with the shortcoming in government bureaucracy inadvertently highlighted by a written question by the Green party.
Renate Künast requested information on the number of migrants presently at initial reception centres. The reply came from Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for the Federal Ministry of the Interior Ole Schröder, who replied that the government has “no overall view of the number of asylum-seekers accommodated in initial reception”, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Initial reception is only a small part of the migration process in Germany, with foreigners hoping to receive asylum status in the country spending a few days at the centres before having their paperwork processed. At this point, the migrants are dispersed to the Federal states to start their new lives. There most will settle, but some may move on — to other German states, or European nations.
Unfortunately for the secretary of state and for ordinary Germans hoping to get a hold on how exactly their nation is being changed, the government failed to keep count of the number of people it bussed into the national hinterland as well. He wrote in his letter to Green member Ms. Künast that the government also did “not know how many people were distributed by the initial reception to the municipalities”.
Latest German migration estimates now stand at 1.5 million, having increased from the already staggering figure of 300,000 over the course of just five months. The 1.5 million number itself is now a month old, and like the other estimates before it, is possibly quite conservative.
The Green party are, like respective Green parties in most European countries, among the most pro-migration in German politics, and Ms. Künast was quick to blast the government for having failed to count migrants in. She called the fact the Federal government “simply does not know how many people currently residing” in the country “embarrassing”.
Ms. Künast lamented that without the correct data it would be difficult to create the right government policy to help migrants, and lashed out at present plans to tighten immigration law, remarking “instead of marauding with new laws tightening borders, the minister and coordinator for refugee policy should sometimes do their homework”.
Without knowing exactly how many migrants are flooding into a nation, making certain planning assumptions — such as the amount of emergency accommodation needed — can be made difficult. Having run out of migration centres, filled up gymnasiums with camp beds, and turned over city parks to tent cities, German councils are now looking to new sources of migrant housing.
Some German cities are now passing emergency legislation permitting the state to confiscate property for migrant accommodation without the owners permission. Hamburg can now seize vacant commercial land to create housing, and Berlin is considering going even further.
In a proposal put forward by left-wing Social Democrat Party mayor Michael Müller, the Berlin senate would suspend key parts of the national constitution to allow police to forcefully enter residential property to assess suitability for seizure against the will of the owner.
Under the plan, the city would add another paragraph to the law governing public safety in Berlin, which at present allows police officers to enter a home without a warrant in order to ward off imminent danger and prevent serious crimes.
In future, as well as preventing imminent danger, the police could also force their way into a residential property to “prevent imminent homelessness”.
The new law has been prepared in secrecy with no public discussion or publicity, reports German daily tabloid BZ-Berlin, with proposals having “disappeared” since a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party pointed out “open preparation for breach of the constitution”.
Columnist Gunnar Schupelius has called on the mayor to come clean over the plans, but he reports “Mayor [Mvller] is conspicuous in his absence… he is in hiding”.