Nearly a third of migrants in Germany falsely claim to be Syrian, officials say
German officials said Friday that nearly a third of all asylum seekers arriving in the country appear to be falsely claiming to be Syrian, even as Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on European nations to take radical new steps to curb the region’s refugee crisis.
So far this year, Germany has received 527,000 asylum seekers — more than any other nation in Europe. Tobias Plate, an Interior Ministry spokesman, acknowledged estimates Friday that roughly 30 percent of the asylum seekers come from other countries but claim to be Syrian. Because of the civil war in their country, roughly 87 percent of Syrians are successfully winning asylum in Germany.
Plate said that rather than a “concrete statistic,” the number was an estimate based on the perceptions of authorities on the ground, including the German Federal Police, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, and Frontex, Europe’s border agency.
“It is an indication,” he said during a news conference in Berlin, of how hard it is to know the true nationalities of asylum seekers, many of whom arrive without passports.
In an interview Friday with The Washington Post, de Maizière — a longtime ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel and one of the key officials dealing with the refugee crisis in Germany — said Europe needs to enact sweeping changes to its refugee system. He added that German attempts to aid refugees had been misinterpreted by migrants in far-flung nations such as Afghanistan as a green light to come to Europe.
Read the rest: washingtonpost.com