On Monday, negotiators from the German federal and state Governments met to hammer out a solution to the migration crisis. The states themselves have been overwhelmed by the flood of refugees, whose numbers exceed all available infrastructure and financial resources. The federal Government – the worst we have had since 1949 – has done very little beyond musing that it might be better at some point to begin deporting those whose asylum applications have been denied. The meeting lasted 17 hours, finally concluding at 3am on Tuesday. The fruit of these efforts was a 17-page agenda item on ‘Refugee Migration: Humanity and Order‘, which underlines what a hopeless political situation we find ourselves in.
Have a taste:
Many people… are coming to Europe and Germany. …
This year… irregular migration from third countries has reached a level that is increasingly increasingly causing problems, particularly in terms of accommodation and integration. Up to September, more than 230,000 new arrivals… have already applied for asylum. The figure for the same period last year was just over 135,000. We can now assume that more than 300,000 people… will apply for asylum in Germany in 2023 as a whole. …
The major increase in irregular migration has significantly increased the challenges for local authorities, federal states and the federal Government. The federal states and local authorities are more and more reaching the limits of what they can afford in terms of reception, accommodation and care. They cannot create additional accommodation indefinitely.
All of this is leading to an overload in many places …
The Federal Chancellor and the heads of the federal states agree that the number of people coming to Germany as refugees must be significantly and sustainably reduced. Clear and targeted measures against uncontrolled immigration that provide quick and effective relief relief and limit the currently excessive influx are therefore needed.
Probably the only meaningful provision in all the words following this preamble is that the federal Government will now provide subsidies to the states of €7,500 per year per asylum applicant. This is nothing to celebrate, and not only because states had asked for more than €10,000. The truth is that nobody cares where the money is coming from; the problem is the migration itself.
In a half-hearted attempt to reduce the attractiveness of Germany to refugees, the agreement proposes delaying their eligibility for social benefits from 18 to 36 months from arrival. It’s unclear this will even be possible, because there’s every chance that the suicidal Federal Court in Karlsruhe (which is responsible for making refugees eligible for benefits in the first place) will find it unconstitutional. Also to make Germany less attractive, the federal Government promises to set up a system whereby refugees will receive ‘benefits in kind’ via payment cards rather than cash. Further on, it promises to “look into” the possibility of processing asylum applications in third states outside the EU. This would massively help, because about half of the new arrivals are denied asylum and then never deported, so I’m glad they’re finally at least thinking about it. Finally, the agreement makes a lot of noise about securing Europe’s outer borders, but to what end is unclear, because all illegal migrants have to do under current EU rules to gain entry is claim asylum. This is why almost all migrants do this. The same goes for the hot air they blow about policing German borders with Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland. As Welt explains: “The coalition Government, like its predecessor, has refrained from instructing the federal police to refuse entry to unauthorised arrivals if they claim to be asylum seekers.” In fact almost no self-proclaimed refugee is ever turned away; the police act as a mere welcoming party.
NiUS adds this observation:
What all this is worth can be seen in the protocol declarations at the end of the resolution: Bremen and Thuringia (governed by the SPD and the Left) do not want any switch to benefits in kind [instead of cash] for refugees and have various other reservations, Bavaria and Saxony (governed by the CDU/CSU) are calling for a “fundamental change in migration policy”, and Bremen, Thuringia and Niedersachsen (governed by the SPD and the Left) also reject asylum procedures outside Germany and will only contemplate them if the migrants choose this option voluntarily.
In other words, substantial portions of the Left at the state level remain totally unfazed by the present crisis are still very much full-steam-ahead on vintage 2015 open-borders Merkelism.
How we got started down the path of unmitigated mass migration is clear enough: late-stage liberal universalism fuelled by the absence of international conflict after the Cold War, a sclerotic establishment eager to import pliant political clients and an ageing population worried about impending labour shortages all played their parts. Now that it has gotten out of hand, nobody from Brussels to Berlin can do anything about it, even as their failure to act threatens to destroy them. States really can limit travel and close borders; they did a fine job of both during the pandemic. When it is not an invisible virus they need to stop, but rather millions of foreigners arriving on derelict vessels from the Mediterranean, they are completely powerless.
Stop Press: The German state is gearing up to ban AfD, the populist Right-wing party that campaigns on bringing down immigration and is currently polling second nationally on about 22%. The regional chapter in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt has been classified as ‘extremist’ by Germany’s intelligence agencies, which say their spying operations have uncovered evidence of party figures “demonising” migrants by referring to them as “invaders” and “intruders”. Unsavoury, of course. But banning popular parties because its activists (privately) use such terms smacks of bias and overreach – and suggests the German establishment is determined to put down any criticism of its mass migration policies. Saskia Esken, the leader of Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, said that AfD would have to be banned in the event that it is classified as extremist at the national level. Some might have thought that opening the borders to the world to create an ongoing unsustainable situation with no realistic plan to curb it is ‘extremist’. But then, that’s a Left wing policy, and everyone knows that only the Right can be extremist…