That Was Easy! Germany Discovers You Can in Fact Slash Illegal Immigration by Policing Borders

24 October 2023, Brandenburg, Bademeusel: Federal police officers and a customs officer ta
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The number of illegal migrants known crossing into Germany has collapsed in just weeks after the government decided to try something new… border control.

Around 300 illegal migrants are detected crossing on average into Germany every day, down considerably from the roughly 700 a day a month ago, analysis of police figures in a German newspaper claims. The sudden change follows a new policy of border control from the nation’s ‘traffic light’ coalition government, dominated by the pro-open borders left-wing Social Democrats and the Green party, with some input from the free-market liberal Free Democrats.

The idea of increasing border controls was not popular with the SPD, but was eventually sold as a humanitarian action intended to protect people being abused by people smugglers in a bid to claw some popularity back after serious defeats in local elections. Initially intended to be active for just ten days, it has since had two 20-day extensions. While the number of arrivals are still considerable, the experiment at least shows that even trying to police a nation’s borders can be effective.

The policy saw German police deployed to the nation’s borders with all south-eastern facing border states: Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, and Poland. Tactics included “flexible, targeted checks”, random checks on those crossing the border, and joint patrols with the police of those border states. Police have the power, when they find an “illegal entrant” in a border region with no right to remain, to either prevent them from entering Germany or to “end that person’s residence”.

In all the number of illegals registered at the border has fallen by 40 per cent from 18,492 in the 30 days before the new policy, to 11,029 in the following 30 days, reports Welt am Sonntag. At the Polish border, 772 people were turned around and sent back in the 30-day period, up from just four people before, and the number of people with outstanding arrest warrants discovered surged from 22 to 152 as well.

The newspaper reports the remarks of one right-wing CDU lawmaker, whose party is now out of power nationally but which nevertheless presided over a period of enormous mass migration to Germany during the 2015-16 migrant crisis, who expressed surprise that the policy was so effective. Welt cited Armin Schuster who said: “With the notified border controls, even our expectations are significantly exceeded… the massive search successes by the federal police clearly demonstrate how indispensable border controls currently are.”

The results subvert the long-held orthodoxy in Germany that border controls are bad policy because they cause delays at the national borders — open borders across Europe being one of the key ‘achievements’ of the European Union and venerated by many — and don’t work anyway as people smugglers can get around them.

While Germany’s small border control success may have come as a surprise in Berlin, other European nations have already discovered the utility of policing the frontier. Hungary built a border fence during the 2015 migrant crisis, for instance, cutting arrivals from 10,000 a day to just dozens. More recently, Poland has built a border fence against Belarus after the Moscow-satellite state started to push migrants over the border in what was called an act of hybrid warfare against the European Union.

Serbia is another recent European convert to border control. After a surge of gun violence at its borders — including hours-long battles between rival factions competing for territory — the Serbian government introduced fresh measures including a major police deployment which has seen migrant numbers fall. This, Welt reports, has had a knock-on effect to arrivals to Germany too, as fewer migrants make their way north.

Migration is again surging to Germany. Over a quarter-million asylum seekers registered in the nation in the first nine months of this year, up from 130,000 in the same period of 2022.


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