German Cities Demand Right to Accept More Asylum Seekers From Federal Government

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 11: People pulling suitcases arrive at the Central Registration Office for Asylum Seekers (Zentrale Aufnahmestelle fuer Fluechtlinge, or ZAA) of the State Office for Health and Social Services (Landesamt fuer Gesundheit und Soziales, or LAGeSo), which is the registration office for refugees and migrants arriving in …
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Around 130 cities and municipalities have demanded the German federal government let them take in more asylum seekers and refugees.

One of the politicians demanding more asylum seekers is Stephan Neher, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), from the small town of Rottenburg am Neckar, which has a population of just 5,800 people but has taken in 850 refugees, Le Figaro reports.

Mr Neher said that he is waiting for the government in Berlin to give him the go-ahead to send a bus to Malta or the Italian island of Lampedusa to pick up migrants and bring them back to Rottenburg am Neckar, where a vacant building would allow 60 more migrants to live in the small town.

“Our city does not want to remain inactive and just watch people die simply because Europe does not respect the right to life. We, as a municipality, want to take our part in this challenge and make sure that we act in a human way,” he told Le Figaro. 

Several other cities, including Berlin, Freiburg, Cologne, and Dusseldorf, are also demanding to be able to take more asylum seekers and are asking that the federal government speed up the asylum procedure.

Social Democrat (SPD) mayor of Dusseldorf Thomas Geisel told the paper that there was “no choice” when it came to receiving more migrants, saying: “We do this in the name of fundamental humanitarian principles which are not negotiable. Rather, it is an appeal to the government which should be seen as an encouragement.”

One of the main opponents to the municipal and city governments has been former Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) leader and Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer who previously slammed the city of Potsdam for welcoming in unaccompanied minors.

Seehofer has been a critic of mass migration for years and called on Chancellor Merkel to enact a maximum quota for asylum seekers per year and nearly threatened to resign over migration issues in 2018.

The requests by the local governments come as Germany set a record for migrant spending in 2018, with 7.9 billion euros spent on various programmes and housing for asylum seekers and refugees.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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