An investigation into Germany’s Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has found that migrant criminals with records of murder, rape, and drug dealing have been allowed to stay in the country under the asylum law.
German tabloid Bild claims to have gained access to records and letters sent from field officers across the country warning the security department at the BAMF headquarters in Nuremberg of asylum seekers with long records of criminality.
According to one case obtained by the tabloid, the security unit of BAMF was warned about an asylum seeker with 85 criminal charges currently against him in Turkey.
“The applicant stated in his hearing and has shown that there are approximately 85 ongoing criminal proceedings against him in Turkey. There is also an arrest warrant against the applicant,” the letter said.
Other letters contained even more concerning information such as one describing an asylum seeker from Ghana named Baba M. who claimed to have murdered at least 40 people.
A Bangladeshi asylum seeker admitted he was also wanted for murder with the field office agent asking if the man should get asylum as he could face “imminent imprisonment” in Bangladesh.
A letter from January 2017 spoke of an asylum seeker from Eritrea who claimed to have tortured people during his days as a prison guard in the country.
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According to a letter from August of 2016, a Pakistani asylum seeker admitted he had raped a man in his home country: “The applicant is sexually attracted to men and women. In Pakistan, the applicant raped a man. For further details please refer to the hearing protocol,” the letter said.
Potential war criminals are also mentioned in the letters, including a migrant from Sierra Leone who claimed to have butchered men, women, and children while serving as a child soldier. Another letter said a Liberian man had “killed and executed many people in combat operations in Liberia”.
Many asylum seekers who commit crimes are unable to be deported by Germany if there are claims they may be tortured or receive the death penalty in the country the are deported to. The letters fuel speculation as to how many known criminals have been able to arrive in Germany while BAMF knew about their pasts.
The letters could prove to be the latest scandal for the agency following previous allegations that members of the Bremen field office had given over a thousand positive asylum decisions to migrants who did not qualify for asylum and there have also been allegations of staff taking bribes.
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The scandal has led to increased pressure from interior minister Horst Seehofer, leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU), to reform the asylum system and be able to turn away migrants at the German border.
Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the CSU’s larger sister party, has disagreed with Seehofer, causing a crisis between the coalition partners which could topple Merkel as Chancellor.