As the first 50 Afghan nationals are deported to their native country, a large crowd of pro-migrant activists held a demonstration against the government’s actions at Frankfurt airport.
Several hundred left-wing activists took part in the protest Wednesday evening at terminal one of the busiest airport in Germany. The activists held signs which read, “Stop – No Deportation to Afghanistan” and “Deportation is torture, deportation is murder” as the first 50 failed asylum seekers boarded a chartered plane to Afghanistan, reports Frankfurter Rundschau.
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After the initial demonstration was over, the participants walked around the busy airport chanting slogans demanding that Afghan migrants be allowed to stay in the country. Among the participants was Janine Wissler, chairman of the left-wing party Die Linke in the Hessian parliament. “Deportations to Afghanistan are irresponsible and inhuman,” she said and claimed the migrants were being deported to a war zone.
Pro-migrant NGO Pro Asyl also claimed that the deportations were “irresponsible” and demanded that they cease. “We explicitly turn to the Green Party in Hesse, Baden-Wurttemberg and Hamburg to do everything they can to ensure that these people are not deported,” said Günter Burkhardt, the managing director of the NGO.
The German Interior ministry, who is responsible for deportations, claimed that at least one-third of the migrants had criminal backgrounds. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said that the migrants had been responsible for a variety of crimes including theft, rape, and manslaughter.
While originally 50 migrants were planned to be deported, only 34 boarded the flight to the Afghan capital of Kabul. Mr. de Maizière claimed that only men were subject to collective deportation and that the 16 rejected were women and children. He said that they would likely be placed on separate flights in the future and that new flights would occur on a weekly basis.
Despite claims from Pro Asyl that the migrants are just dropped off at Kabul airport and left to their own devices, the Interior Minister said that after the flight had landed the migrants were greeted by the Afghan Refugee Agency, the Afghan Police force, and other agencies that would help them return to normal life in their country.
Deportations have become a tense issue in Germany as the nation has faced a series of hurdles in trying to return failed asylum seekers. Despite considering many countries in North Africa as “safe countries of origin”, the governments in various countries have rejected taking back their nationals resulting in a mere 166 migrants from the region being successfully deported this year as of August.
The cost of deportation has also been an issue as it can cost the German taxpayers up to 55,000 euros per migrant to forcibly deport them. Even when the government is successful, some migrants merely walk back into the country where the process of deportation is repeated all over again.