Germany is intensifying its efforts to crack down on illegal immigration with increased police patrols on its borders with Poland and the Czech Republic, according to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. The aim of these changes is to prevent further illegal migration into the country, as a quarter of migrants who enter Germany do so with the help of smugglers. These smugglers often charge migrants thousands of dollars to facilitate their illegal entry through the Mediterranean Sea or Balkan forests. Faeser emphasized the need to stop the cruel and dangerous activities of these smugglers, who put human lives at risk for maximum profit.
To achieve this goal, Germany plans to deploy additional manpower for flexible and mobile checks at changing locations along the smuggling routes. However, Faeser clarified that no fixed border checks will be established, as this would require disclosure to the European Commission. Fixed border checks have been in place on Germany’s border with Austria since 2015. Faeser’s announcement was supported by Finance Minister Christian Lindner, who pledged to increase the number of customs officers by 500 to assist in stopping smuggling and illegal migration.
This decision comes after German police conducted raids on apartments allegedly linked to a smuggling ring, leading to the discovery of over 100 Syrian citizens. These raids highlight the ongoing challenge Germany faces in accommodating the influx of migrants. Between January and August of this year alone, 220,000 people applied for asylum in Germany. It is expected that the number of asylum applicants by the end of the year will surpass the total of 240,000 in 2022. Additionally, Germany has welcomed over a million Ukrainian refugees since last year, the second-highest number in the EU after Poland.
While many of these refugees have expressed a desire to stay in Germany until the situation in Ukraine improves, the sheer volume of arrivals has strained the resources of German cities and towns. A major housing shortage has emerged as the construction of promised units stalled due to the European Central Bank’s decision to raise interest rates to combat inflation. As a result, accommodating and supporting these newcomers has become a significant challenge for the German government.
The issue of tightening border security has also sparked tensions with Poland. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz presented the proposal to strengthen border security with Poland in response to the visas-for-cash scandal unfolding in Warsaw. In reaction, Poland threatened to increase checks on the German border. However, it is yet to be seen how this disagreement will be resolved between the two neighboring countries.
In summary, Germany’s decision to enhance police patrols on its borders with Poland and the Czech Republic is aimed at curbing illegal immigration facilitated by smugglers. The increasing number of migrants applying for asylum and seeking refuge in Germany has posed significant challenges for the country in terms of accommodation and resources. The government’s response includes mobile checks at varying locations to prevent evasive movements by smugglers. However, the plan does not involve establishing fixed border checks that would need to be disclosed to the European Commission. The situation with Poland adds another layer of complexity to Germany’s efforts to combat illegal migration and ensure border security.